No good would come from a cut to state’s funds for the homeless

The OlympianMarch 11, 2014 

Seth Hutt, a local resident and Bigelow Springs Park steward, walks through an apparently abandoned homeless encampment off of Bigelow Ave. Sept. 10th, 2013.

STEVE BLOOM; STAFF PHOTOGRAPHER

The newly elected senator and former real estate agent from Port Orchard seems a little touchy about her crude handling of a bill to renew funding for the state’s homeless people. Maybe she should explain herself rather than get huffy.

As we noted Sunday, Sen. Jan Angel abruptly and inexplicably shut down the Senate Financial Institutions Committee, which she co-chairs, blocking members from voting on a bill to renew the real estate recording fee. It was a blunder, some say, directed by Sen. Rodney Tom, leader of the Republican-controlled Senate.

Even Sen. Don Benton, one of the majority caucus’s most conservative members, joined a bipartisan group of senators criticizing Angel and urging passage of the bill. Benton even co-authored an op-ed piece published on this page last Friday that urged lawmakers to renew the recording fee.

Strange bedfellows, indeed.

But Angel compounded her problems by getting defensive in a news release that complained about the “flurry of controversy and inaccurate accusations, despite her good intentions.”

We’re trying to figure out what “good intentions” she had in cutting funding for homeless people?

There are 30,000 homeless students in our public schools, and hundreds or thousands more who aren’t attending school. We have people sleeping in cars. Every city and town in the state is trying to figure out how to provide services to its homeless population.

What good could come from cutting this funding? Is it just a coincidence that Angel’s former colleagues in the real estate industry opposed the bill?

Fortunately, the House and Senate leadership came to their senses over the weekend and agreed to exempt the measure from Friday’s cutoff for bills not necessary to pass the budget.

Lawmakers now have a second opportunity to pass ESHB 2368. They should take it.

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