Legislature Maintains Investments in Kids, Seniors and Healthcare
United Way of Snohomish County Generally Pleased
(Everett, WA) - After reviewing the $31.6 billion two-year budget passed by the legislature on Wednesday, and reflecting on their legislative priorities for 2012, United Way of Snohomish County expressed satisfaction with the overall results
"We are pleased that the legislature has completed the state budget process and that through thoughtful deliberations, which included modest increases in needed revenue, they were able to preserve funding for services that will be essential to Snohomish County families," said Dennis G. Smith, president and CEO of United Way of Snohomish County.
United Way's priorities for this year focused on kids, seniors and healthcare.
"With the state facing a more than $1 billion deficit, we weren't looking for new funding in these areas," said Katrina Ondracek, Vice President of Public Policy and Community Initiatives. "We were looking for the state to maintain the investments they had already made."
These investments dovetail with United Way's work of advancing the common good by focusing on the building blocks of a good life: successful kids, financially stable families and a healthy community.
In the area of Early Learning, the Budget:
* Maintains eligibility for the Early Childhood Education and Assistance Program (ECEAP) for three and four year olds; and
* Increases eligibility for Working Connections Child Care from 175 percent to 200 percent of the federal poverty level and improved program registration efficiencies.
These steps will help ensure that children and youth enter school ready to learn, succeed while in school and graduate on-time.
Of particular interest to Seniors, the Budget:
* Maintains funding for people with developmental disabilities and others needing long-term care;
* Maintains funding for the Senior Citizens Services Act, and
* Realigns funding for Adult Day Health.
These steps will help maintain funding to support services such as information & assistance, transportation, nutrition, caregiver support and other local services for seniors.
In the area of Healthcare, the Budget:
* Maintains Disability Lifeline medical and housing programs;
* Maintains funding for children's health; and
* Maintains the Basic Health Plan.
These three items will maintain important health insurance options for our community.
United Way is a community impact organization serving Snohomish County for more than 70 years. In addition to funding 102 programs through 39 agencies with a special focus on local health and human services, United Way of Snohomish County supports a number of initiatives focused on education, financially stable families, a youth volunteering program, North Sound 211 and an emerging initiative in survival English.