More parents forced to choose on childcare. Plus: taxes, county budgets, economy and spending and pension relief

November 12, 2008 | Alex Stone

Child care subsidies ought to continue in downturn: Child care is a part of every community’s economic infrastructure. In fact, child care employment accounts for about 18 percent of the labor force in the U.S. Child care employs twice as many workers as the entertainment and food service industries.

Parents struggle with child care as economy tanks: With wage freezes, mounting layoffs and an increasingly crappy economy, working parents have less money for one of their biggest expenses, not mortgage or car payments, but childcare.

Port votes to increase taxes 11% next year: The Port of Seattle Commission voted Tuesday to increase the taxes it collects from King County property owners to $84 million in 2009, an 11 percent increase from the $76 million it collected in 2008.

County Budget Cuts Are Going to Hurt: Sixty-three people lined up in the hallway outside King County Council chambers yesterday to plead with the council to restore funding for their programs. There wasn’t a bad cause among them–from advocates for the 146-year-old King County Fair to farmers whose success depends on the county-funded Puget Sound Fresh program to survivors of domestic violence who would be homeless if not for county-funded women’s shelter programs, everyone who spoke made a good case that their program shouldn’t be among those cut.

States cushion slumping economy: Even as the economy slides into recession, many state and local governments continue to spend freely and expand their workforces. State and local spending jumped 7.4% in the third quarter compared with a year earlier, the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis reports. Hiring increased faster than in any sector except health care.

The Real Difference Between Bankruptcy and Bailout: When a big company that gets into trouble is more valuable living than dead, there used to be a well-established legal process for reorganizing it – called chapter 11 of the bankruptcy code. Under it, creditors took some losses, shareholders even bigger ones, some managers’ heads rolled. Companies cleaned up their books and got a fresh start. And taxpayers didn’t pay a penny.

State’s unemployment fund is going dry: The latest victim of California’s notoriously bad budgeting? The state unemployment insurance fund – just at the moment struggling Californians need it most. Unless the governor and Legislature take fast action, projections show that the fund will be insolvent in 2009. Meanwhile, the state’s unemployment rate stands at 7.7 percent – and growing.

Companies push Congress for pension relief: With pension funds facing billions of dollars in shortfalls as markets plunge, a range of companies from Ford to Verizon are pushing Congress to suspend portions of a two-year old law they say could force them to make job cuts as they shift scarce money into ailing retirement pools.

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Posted in Retirement Security, State Economy, Tax and Budget, Work & Family

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