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House: Close prisons, one Rainier School building

Post by Jordan Schrader / The News Tribune on Feb. 23, 2010 at 2:25 pm | 3 Comments »
February 23, 2010 2:25 pm

House budget writers want to use $857 million in tax increases to preserve or increase funding for college tuition grants for low-income students, Apple Health for Kids medical assistance, levy equalization for school districts, and a redesigned and renamed General Assistance Unemployable aid program (to be called Disability Lifeline).

Other cuts would not be avoided.

House leaders want to save $12 million by closing Ahtanum View and Pine Lodge prisons, shutting down a unit at Larch prison, and downsizing McNeil Island prison near Steilacoom  to convert it to minimum security.

The Senate also proposes downsizing McNeil, but wants to shut down only one prison, Larch.

Both would preserve Rainier School for people with developmental disabilities. The House wants to shut down one residential building at Rainier.

The House budget also calls for “efficiency measures” at the five residential centers including Rainier and Frances Haddon Morgan Center in Bremerton. The Senate prefers to close Frances Haddon Morgan, which houses people with autism.

There’s at least one other major difference between the House and Senate on state institutions: The Senate would close Maple Lane School juvenile rehabilitation center in Centralia, while the House would keep it open.

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