‘At Hope’ kids or who do you think you are fooling?


As if Washington State didn’t have enough problems with trying to make up their revenue shortfalls of over $2.5 billion, nine Senators have decided that it would be better to focus on “control of minutiae.” These nine; Franklin, Kauffman, McAuliffe, McDermott, Regala, Fraser, Keiser, Hatfield and Kilmer have introduced a 61-page bill to remove aka “ban” terms like “at risk,” “in poverty,” or “disadvantaged” and replace every one of those phrases with “at hope.” (SB6249)

First, let’s review the cost of this inane legislation. According to the Senate Accounting and HR Dept., the monthly salary for a Senator is $3,508.84, and monthly Senatorial benefits are about $951.

So, a total of $481,662.72 per year or $1,319.62 per day for the nine Senators is spent.

Based upon about 10 days work, the payroll expense would be $13,196.23. For the paper, copying, support staff, etc., the bill itself probably costs between $3,000 and $6,000. So just to get this idea to the floor costs $17,696.23 (bill plus payroll).

The cost of each day on the Senate floor being about $17,200 (without salaries and benefits), the actual cost of this bill is probably between $20,000 and $25,000 of taxpayer monies. (Not a huge amount by itself, but 700 – 800 Senate bills alone in one session begin to cost all of us lots of money.)

Second, what did the taxpayer get? A suggested ban against describing some children’s real challenges/problems with some politically correct mumbo jumbo which makes absolutely no sense. Their assertion that if you describe a child’s circumstance as “disadvantaged” it will create an adult who manifests ‘a self-fulfilling prophecy of “disadvantaged”’ is simply ridiculous to most common-sense adults.

Kids actually know who may be poor and who isn’t and who is running with the wrong crowd and who isn’t. They don’t need labels. And, a child who is living in a chaotic home with not enough to eat and no support from a “family” will hardly believe him/herself to have no problems simply because a bunch of politicians decided to label him/her “at hope.”

Finally, if the legislature really wanted to do something useful, why not “re-fund” all the medical insurance Gov. Gregoire removed in order to reduce the State deficits. That insurance was for kids and unemployed or underemployed families. The term “at hope” means absolutely nothing concrete to a hungry, abused, neglected child.

If these Senators have nothing better to do, then I suggest they resign and save all of us some money, and since they don’t seem to represent any sane constituency — we don’t want them replaced either.

Catherine Paxton


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