7 days before a government shutdown
June 23, 2017 | By Rep. Kristine Reeves
For months I’ve told you that Democrats and Republicans must come together to negotiate a budget that fully funds K-12 education. That’s why I’m in Olympia. As a working mom, I want the best schools for my kids and yours.
Unfortunately, Senate Republicans have kept the Legislature from finding a compromise that meets that goal and, due to their refusal to negotiate for two months, we are now on the verge of a government shutdown.
I have continually called on my Republican colleagues to find compromise. We have been successful in other legislation, from supporting veterans to finding middle ground on school testing. But when it comes to how to fund public education, Republicans in the Senate have yet to meet us halfway.
That has major implications for Federal Way and the rest of the 30th Legislative District.
A government shutdown will occur if the Legislature does not pass and the Governor does not sign a new budget by June 30. On top of temporarily laying off 33,000 state workers, programs, services, and facilities would be effected, including the small list below:
- State parks, including Dash Point State Park, will close over the 4th of July holiday & camp reservations will be canceled.
- Veteran services and benefits for 8,300 in our district would be disrupted, including PTSD counseling, contracts to help file Veterans Affairs claims, and emergency financial assistance for recently-deployed veterans.
- Almost 350 people who receive housing assistance will face possible eviction while the government is shutdown.
- 50,000 of the state’s older residents will no longer receive meal services.
Budget negotiators have until June 30 to pass a budget. Failure to fund the government by then results in a shutdown starting July 1. I need you to call 1-800-562-6000 and tell legislators to compromise on a fair budget that fully funds K-12 education without cuts to essential services.
I have heard from many of you about what a government shutdown will mean for you, your family, or your business. One story shared with me comes from one of our early learning child care centers in Auburn. This business provides services to foster children and a majority of its clientele is subsidized through state child care and early learning programs.
This business provides care for lots of children in the area, including foster children and families who receive DSHS subsidies to pay for their service. Those DSHS subsidies will stop if the government shuts down, and the child care provider will have to close down, unable to stay open without the funding provided by the state, turning all kids away.
As a working mom with two pre-schoolers in daycare, the story I got from that child care provider in Auburn hit me especially hard. I know exactly what hundreds of working parents are going through right now as they try to figure out alternative options for their kids because the government can’t get their job done. I know what it’s like to have face the decision between staying home to care for my kids or going to work to bring home a paycheck–which is also crucial to the well-being of my family. I couldn’t do what I do–have a full- time job and be a part-time legislator–without the childcare providers in my neighborhood.
So, like so many of you, I’m frustrated by the political stalling happening in the Senate right now. This could have been avoided, if the Senate had made the effort to come to the table before it was too late! Now, the Legislature has a week to find a budget deal or else day care centers will turn away kids and maybe even close down.
This Legislature has one job it must do. We must pass a budget. Right now, the obstructionism and refusal to negotiate for two months from the Senate has led us to the brink of disaster for families in our area, We cannot allow political entrenchments to override our duty to the people of Washington.
You sent me to Olympia to fully fund education, but not at the expense of child care for families all across our district. Not at the expense of foster kids. And not to raise property taxes $5.5 billion, on the backs of working families, like Senate Republicans propose.
And for all of these reasons, I am committed to being in Olympia every day next week to get the job done.
Are you a veteran who won’t receive your benefits? Will your daycare close due to lack of state support? Is your camping reservation going to be canceled?
Tell me your story about how a government shutdown might affect you. I want to share your stories with colleagues and budget negotiators to encourage them to compromise on a fair budget. Please e-mail me your name and what city you live in and how you will be impacted by a state government shutdown.