Education and economic stimulus. Plus: severe budget cuts, job training, retirement security and paid sick leave in Europe

January 20, 2009 | Alex Stone

Education leaders focus on the future: State Sen. Rosemary McAuliffe says she won’t let the state’s budget deficit paralyze her or the Senate Education Committee she leads. McAuliffe and her counterpart on the House Education Committee, Rep. Dave Quall, both expect plenty of work during the legislative session even if a projected $6 billion budget deficit means there’s no new money for education or anything else.

Early Education in the Stimulus: Last week, House Appropriations Committee Chairman David Obey (D-Wisc.) released an outline of spending priorities for an economic stimulus package. Obey’s plan would provide $550 billion in new spending to stimulate the economy, including over $52 billion in funding for Pk-12 education programs, including early education.

Gregoire pushes state stimulus: Tax collections are drying up, unemployment is surging, and the line of people pleading for mercy from massive budget cuts grows longer every day. With dire, depressing economic news seemingly around every corner, Olympia’s leaders are betting that a surge of state spending can inject some good vibes into the wounded economy.

Advocates for low-income protest budget cuts: A few hundred activists with signs that said “End Poverty Now” and “Health care for all” rallied at the Capitol on Monday against the backdrop of severe cuts lawmakers are mulling to close a $5.7 billion budget gap.

$700,000 from feds for skills training: Six projects in Washington state that are geared toward developing local economies and training the local work force have received about $700,000 in federal funds. The projects include manufacturing-skills training for workers in Eastern Washington; training to increase the size and quality of the work force in marine and manufacturing industries in Northwest Washington; and for a panel focusing on interactive media-skills needs, such as video-game development, animation and video, in King County.

Unemployment Insurance – a deteriorating safety net: As unemployment starts to go through the roof we assume that people who lose their jobs can get unemployment benefits. The assumption is wrong. Only a bit more than a third of the unemployed benefit from the unemployment insurance safety net.

New Survey Finds 83% of Americans Concerned about Retirement: A national public opinion survey released today reveals widespread retirement insecurity among Americans. Current economic conditions have more than eight out of ten Americans worried about their ability to retire. And some 71% indicate they feel it is harder today to retire as compared to previous generations.

EU Court: illness no reason to deny paid leave: The EU high court Tuesday voided German and British labor rules that deny paid annual leave to sick workers. Workers in the 27-nation European Union cannot lose the right to a paid vacation just because they are ill, the European Court of Justice ruled.

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Posted in Early Learning, Education, Health Care, Paid Sick Days, Retirement Security, Retirement Security Accounts, State Economy, Tax and Budget

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