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Welcome to The Seattle Times' online letters to the editor, a sampling of readers' opinions. Join the conversation by commenting on these letters or send your own letter of up to 200 words letters@seattletimes.com.

April 7, 2011 at 4:00 PM

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House Democrats outline plan to close state budget

Posted by Letters editor

The last step

Coverage of the House budget plan highlighted the preservation of two key social programs: Basic Health and Disability Lifeline [“House Dems’ deficit plan: cut spending, raise tuition,” page one, April 5].

But it overlooks the cuts that may wipe out the health-center system that delivers these programs. The community health-center payment cuts in this budget would force health centers to close clinics, cut hours and eliminate jobs, compromising access for the more than 730,000 low-income patients in communities across the state who rely on them.

Saving Basic Health and Disability Lifeline may look like a win, but they won’t do anyone any good if there’s no place for patients to actually receive care. I hope the Senate will see that funding these programs only gets us partway to the goal of providing health care and stability.

Funding the health centers is the critical remaining piece.

— Judy Featherstone, medical director of HealthPoint, Renton

Just doing their jobs

I noted that the state House budget recommends suspending the teacher pay raise and class size citizen initiatives. I’m glad that somebody is finally talking about suspending a citizen initiative or two instead of treating them like sacred cows.

After all, we send legislators to Olympia to make the hard choices. But why is it that these initiatives are targeted?

These would improve public education and should be respected. We need to start talking about suspending some of the initiatives that handcuff the state from addressing the revenue side of the budget deficit.

I, for one, would be overjoyed to read about that kind of initiative suspension!

— Michael Scarey, Seattle

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