State looks to cut “last resort” safety net of cash, medical aid: For decades, Washingtonians with no other options have turned to a state program called General Assistance-Unemployable, or GA-U, which provides health coverage and a monthly cash benefit of up to $339. Enrollment hovers around 16,000, but Governor Gregoire has proposed cutting the programs budget as a cost-saving measure.
Senate has own take on stimulus: The Senate will open debate today on a nearly $900 billion economic-stimulus plan that is similar in size and scope to the package the House passed, creating a possibly smooth path for sending a bill to President Obama’s desk by the mid-February deadline.
Welfare Aid Isn’t Growing as Economy Drops Off: Michigan cut welfare rolls 13 percent despite the fact that its October unemployment rate topped 9 percent.
Washington pension fund loses a fifth of its value in ’08: The Washington State Investment Board’s pension fund lost about a fifth of its value in 2008, bumping up the unfunded liability for the oldest pension plans and likely requiring workers to pay more into the system.