Thank you to staff writer Kris Hill for reporting on the alarming King County budget shortfall. (June 11, “Law and justice ‘in trouble’”). In addition to the cuts in the criminal justice system that were noted (about 80 percent of the general fund budget), there is a proposal that all health and human-service funding (the other 20 percent of the budget) be eliminated in three years.
Yes, that is all of this funding.
As a third-term board member of King County Sexual Assault Resource Center, I know that will mean the elimination of more than 25 percent of our direct services to children, youth and adults who are victims of sexual assault.
You can repeat the same impact for hundreds of health and human services provided throughout King County.
This is unacceptable. Six years ago, when a similar budget crisis happened, the county convened two task forces of human-service funding. Dozens of people from throughout the county worked hundreds of hours and two reports with recommendations were released. To my knowledge those recommendations for developing additional funding sources were never implemented.
Here we are again, with empty pockets.
Over the years, we have built a strong community safety net through partnership funding from business, government and very generous citizens. Elimination of King County health and human-service funding will leave disastrous holes in the net or eliminate it all together.
We must not allow this to happen. Please contact the persons you have elected in King County government (County Council members, County Executive Ron Sims) and tell them it is unacceptable to eliminate needed services to members of our communities.
Marvin Eckfeldt is a retired former minister of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) in Kent.