Saturday, September 18, 2021

Play

Hundreds of wealthy Americans back the Biden Build Back Better Act; Roger Stone is served with a warrant on live radio; and family caregivers are in need of assistance.

Play

Virginia gubernatorial candidates debate; former federal prosecutor Michael Sussmann indicted for lying to FBI; lawmakers set to question oil industry over climate disinformation; and FDA scientists express skepticism over booster shots.

Play

Lawsuits stall debt relief for America's Black farmers; Idaho hospitals using "critical care" protocols; grant money boosts rural towns in Utah and more conservation acreage could protect the iconic sage grouse.

WA Workers to Lawmakers: Cuts Will Hurt Most Vulnerable

Play

Monday, November 30, 2020   

OLYMPIA, Wash. -- Washington state workers say potential budget cuts will hurt Washingtonians.

Because of the pandemic, the state is facing a $3.3 billion dollar shortfall through 2023.

Agencies like the Department of Social and Health Services (DSHS) have been asked to determine what a 15% cut would look like.

Koastyantin Unguryan, a spoken-language interpreter who contracts with state agencies, helps folks access health care and is especially worried about a lack of interpreters during the pandemic.

"Without access to interpreters, the most vulnerable will be denied access to public services and also to health care and life-saving medical treatment," Unguryan asserted. "So it is a very big concern on my mind right now."

Unguryan believes lawmakers should look elsewhere for revenue, including fixing the state's regressive tax system in which low- and middle-income Washingtonians pay a far greater percentage of their wages in taxes than do high-income residents.

Larry Nelson, an DSHS adult protection services investigator from Spokane, investigates crimes such as financial exploitation of older Washingtonians. He's concerned cuts will lead to fewer investigators and more crime against vulnerable Washingtonians.

Nelson believes the work is his calling, considering himself like a sheepdog protecting the flock.

"The job that I'm in right now gives me a greater sense of satisfaction in that I'm able to advocate and help protect those who have difficulty protecting themselves," Nelson explained.

Matthew Cox, a transportation systems technician for the Washington Department of Transportation in Wenatchee, ensures highways are safe to drive through functioning traffic signs and signals.

His work is critical in natural disasters such as avalanches that block the highway. He says many people may not know that he and his colleagues are first responders.

"We're the ones who are operating the shift to keep the highway lanes open," Cox contended. "I'm concerned because budgetary cuts, if that comes to start cutting jobs or we have to start laying people off, then we're not going to be able to provide the service to the highway that the public has come to depend on and require."

The 2021 legislative session convenes January 11.

Disclosure: Washington Federation of State Employees - AFSCME Council 28 contributes to our fund for reporting on Budget Policy and Priorities, and Livable Wages/Working Families. If you would like to help support news in the public interest, click here.


get more stories like this via email
According to the most recent Census of Agriculture, cover-crop acres in the United States have increased to 10 million. (Adobe Stock)

Environment

EAST TROY, Wis. - Wisconsin farmers are looking ahead to the fall harvest, and those who use cover crops face a deadline to sign up for a research …


Social Issues

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. - State Rep. Randy Fine, R-Palm Bay, is lashing out against the idea of Critical Race Theory, filing a bill to ban its use in all …

Social Issues

By Sonali Kolhatkar for Yes! Media. Broadcast version by Lily Bohlke for Commonwealth News Service reporting for the YES! Media-Public News Service …


According to a letter from academics and scientists urging global climate action, air pollution caused by climate change was responsible for one in five deaths worldwide in 2018. (Craig/Adobe Stock)

Environment

MANCHESTER, N.H. - Three New Hampshire professors are among those who've signed a letter urging the United Nations General Assembly to adopt what's …

Social Issues

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. - One out of every three people incarcerated in the United States has contracted COVID-19, and a new report shows how state …

Oregon's Hispanic population grew 30% from 2010 to 2020. (Gstudio/Adobe Stock)

Social Issues

PORTLAND, Ore. -- Hispanic Heritage Month began this week, and will be celebrated through Oct. 15. Oregon has a rapidly growing Hispanic population…

Social Issues

SILVER SPRING, Md. -- As the Biden administration challenges a Texas law restricting abortion after six weeks of pregnancy, Planned Parenthood for …

Social Issues

CHEYENNE, Wyo. -- Social Security, the program credited with lifting 15 million older residents in Wyoming and across the U.S. out of poverty…

 

Phone: 303.448.9105 Toll Free: 888.891.9416 Fax: 208.247.1830 Your trusted member and audience-supported news source since 1996 Copyright 2021