Washington State House Democrats


Peterson bills to help families with low incomes head to governor’s desk. 

OLYMPIA – A pair of bills that will help families with low incomes find better financial stability are on the way to the governor. House Bills 2230 and 2007, sponsored by Rep. Strom Peterson, D-Edmonds, work on removing barriers facing families with low incomes. 

House Bill 2230 creates the Economic Security for All program which promotes economic inclusion and self-sufficiency for people with low incomes. It will allocate grants to families and individuals below 200 percent of the federal poverty level (less than $30,120 for individuals or $62,400 for a family of four). These grants will help families in our communities work toward more self-sufficiency, focusing especially on supporting people of color and rural residents. 

“Many families live on the economic razor’s edge, despite often working full time. They are simultaneously one unexpected bill away from financial ruin and one boost away from self-sufficiency,” said Peterson. “We should work to tip the scales toward self-sufficiency. The Economic Security for All grant program will help families toward financial stability. It helps our neighbors climb out of poverty and is a smart use of taxpayer dollars.” 

Roughly 15 percent of Washington families make less than $50,000 per year – according to the U.S. Census Bureau. Just shy of 16 percent of families make less than $75,000 per year. 

Additionally, House Bill 2007 puts an end to an arbitrary lifetime limit on assistance from the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) program. Currently, recipients are capped at 60 months of assistance within their lifetime no matter what their circumstances might be. 

“As families work toward stability and sustainability, we need to make sure that assistance remains available until their financial situation improves. An arbitrary time limit doesn’t help families find security, which is our ultimate goal,” continued Peterson. “This bill is tailored to help families with little babies at home. There’s more work to do but this is another step in the right direction.”