OLYMPIA (Nov. 21) — After consulting with its affiliated unions and community allies, the Washington State Labor Council will try something new in the special legislative session that begins Nov. 28 and the 2012 session. The WSLC will pursue a budget agenda in coordination with community, religious and small business groups that share labor’s concerns about all-cuts budgets harming our families and Washington’s economic future, and that agree that significant investment in public infrastructure is needed to create jobs now.
The Wall Street Recession continues to decimate Washington state’s economy and harm families. Our state budget has been slashed by $10 billion in the past three years — eliminating thousands of jobs, costing families their health care coverage, increasing school class sizes, sending college tuitions skyrocketing, and shredding our social safety net. Unemployment remains high; near 9% statewide and up to 60% in certain construction trades. And state economists say we are only halfway through this “Second Great Depression.”
Labor and other groups are joining together to demand that our primary task as a state must be to protect our communities by investing in jobs and public necessities, like education and health care. In recent weeks, the WSLC and its allies have been reaching out to various organizations to urge their support for preserving our quality of life and rebuilding a strong state economy by pursuing the following agenda (PDF format):
1. Substantially increase revenue and utilize revenue bonding to protect critical services and jobs in education, health care and public safety.
2. Create 30,000 direct jobs, and many more indirectly, by building and repairing community assets — including public buildings, bridges, state parks, water and irrigation systems, and college campuses — with a $2 billion general obligation bond on the spring ballot.
3. End unjustified tax breaks that don’t create jobs, and reform our tax break system to make it more transparent and accountable.
The WSLC will join various community, religious and small business groups in explaining these proposals in more detail in coming weeks and in urging state lawmakers to end the partisan posturing, abandon the failed all-cuts approach to this crisis, and to fight to restore jobs, our quality of life and our economic future in Washington.
For more information about this agenda, call Washington Community Action Network at 206-389-0050 or the Washington State Labor Council at 1-800-542-0904.