Bipartisan vote in the House expands SCHIP. Plus: economic stimulus, bleak economic outlook and unemployment benefits.

January 15, 2009 | Alex Stone

House votes to expand health care for children: Making a down payment on President-elect Barack Obama’s promise of universal health coverage, the House voted overwhelmingly Wednesday to expand government-sponsored insurance to 4 million more children in working families with income too high to qualify for Medicaid.

Gregoire wants relief for jobless, employers: Gov. Chris Gregoire on Wednesday proposed tapping the state’s $4 billion unemployment trust fund to give a temporary tax cut for businesses, as well as a temporary boost in benefits to laid-off workers.

House Democrats propose $825 billion stimulus bill: Working closely with President-elect Barack Obama, House Democrats on Thursday called for $825 billion in federal spending and tax cuts to revive the economy, with strong emphasis on energy, education, health care and jobs-producing highway construction.

Foreclosure numbers for Puget Sound region climbing faster: The number of homes in some stage of the foreclosure process has doubled in King, Snohomish and Kitsap counties since 2006, according to RealtyTrac, a national foreclosure-information firm based in Southern California.

State’s economy had bleak year: Washington’s work force is putting in more hours, spending more of its income on housing and getting smaller raises, according to an economic report released Wednesday by the state.

Gregoire’s address: When $1 is more than $1: “Unemployment benefits are a uniquely powerful tool to benefit our economy. Benefits go directly to folks who need help and they are spent locally to boost business. Every dollar of benefits results in another $1.64 of buying power in our economy. And the tax break will help businesses weather the downturn.”

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Posted in Education, Health Care, State Economy, Tax and Budget, Work & Family

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