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Governor lays out massive budget cuts

Post by Brad Shannon / The Olympian on Dec. 15, 2010 at 10:39 am with 67 Comments »
December 15, 2010 1:28 pm

Goodbye Basic Health Plan, the Children’s Health Program and the Washington State History Museum in Tacoma. Hello to tuition hikes and public-employee pay cuts. Gov. Chris Gregoire has begun rolling out her two-year budget proposal for the Legislature this morning, and it’s a plan she says she would not sign “in any other time.”

The 2009-11 biennial proposal calls for major cuts to bridge a $4.6 billion shortfall. The 40-page highlights summary suggests more than $1 billion of that gap is made up through public school funding cuts and diversions of school construction money and $345 million more from higher education despite tuition increases.

It appears the health and human service safety net also is taking a shredding with elimination of the Basic Health Plan, the Disability Lifeline, Children’s Health Insurance Program, the State Food Assistance Program that assists food banks with commodities, the child-support pass through for welfare families, medical interpreter services and numerous other allotments that had been a fixture of budgets for years.

She also would close the state historical museums in Tacoma and Spokane, and she proposes to shut the Maple Lane juvenile prison at Grand Mound by June 30 next year.

The list goes on in a drum roll that would tire the arms of a robot.

Gregoire said in her written message to the public: “It’s difficult to support something that goes against all we have accomplished over the last six years. But these are the circumstances we find ourselves in, and we have been left with few choices.”

MORE: Here’s the developing AP story.

Quotes from the governor’s press conference.

Leave a comment Comments → 67
  1. “It’s difficult to support something that goes against all we have accomplished over the last six years. But these are the circumstances we find ourselves in, and we have been left with few choices.”

    We are in this predicament today because no one would listen a few years ago. Until recently, nearly every move by governor Gregoire has been to expand government and spending wastefully.

    Still, even with a previously announced hiring freeze, we see some 1700 newly hired state employees.

    Public unions are making scant sacrifices while the private sector is making huge sacrifices.

    And, in light of all of this, Clark County Board of Commissioners will be receiving a pay and car allowance increase and Clark College Instructors are demanding a wage increase through their union.

    Over th past few years, Republicans offered at least 55 different wys to cut spending and trim the budget. Our illustrious Democrat majority scoffed at and ignored every single one, then cried Republicans offered nothing.

    Robin Hood was a myth, Democrats.

  2. If you people wouldn’t have miss used the moneys that you spent on items not important to the running of our local government like travel expenses, to many government employees not needed to run our government and better investments of our money. I guess you will find out how we the voters feel at the next elections !

  3. nonstopjoe says:

    Just enact the numbers in Gregoire’s first budget (after she was first elected) and we’ll be OK. It’s her annual increases that are causing today’s problems.

  4. I’d like to hear what Brown & Haley has to say about this.

  5. (namely the closure of Tacoma’s Washington State History Museum)

  6. To hell with the kids. I need slightly cheaper candy and pop!

  7. chip98404 says:

    LewWaters says:
    “Public unions are making scant sacrifices while the private sector is making huge sacrifices.”

    State employees will be taking an average pay reduction of nearly $300.00 per month when adding up the furloughs over the next two years, the increase in medical premiums and the increase in pension contributions. That is not scant. I suggest you try living on $300.00 per month less than you have right now.

    “And, in light of all of this, Clark County Board of Commissioners will be receiving a pay and car allowance increase and Clark College Instructors are demanding a wage increase through their union.”

    That is a county issue and not a state issue.

  8. nonstopjoe says:

    The electorate should keep in mind that what’s happening is the result of poor voting choices. Gregoire (and her ilk) reflect the competency of voters – so, there should be a minimum of b-tching. Just do better next time.

  9. Nealy $5 blllion in budget cuts is not a Dems/ Repub problem. It is not an issue how we govern. It does reflect that the complaining Publicans voted for an idiot, marginal intellect, president that cut taxes in 2001 & 03 while starting two wars and borrowing to pay for them. On top of this the idiots reduced regulations/restrictions on Wall Street to allow them to gamble without risk, cook the books all on our dime.

    This grand wisdom that many of you profess created a loss of 8 million jobs. Eat your wheaties, join the partym read a book, comic books are not books, and use your library card.

    The worst has just begun.

  10. It seems like the middle to low income familes are the ones who will suffer the most from this with all the cuts to assistance programs. I hope that this will not backfire and result in things getting worse. Gregoire was definitely nt my first choice for governor, but that is neither here nor there.

  11. The history museum in Tacoma is one of the finest in the country and supported in part by private contributions and fee-paying customers. How can that much be saved on closure a special quality of life institution? Closing history museums in Tacoma and Spokane! What is being cut or closed in Seattle and King County? Maybe start with the WA State Convention Center and the hundreds of “branch” offices of state government in Seattle’s expensive high-rises.

  12. wadsbrau says:

    I am NOT going to vote for any of these idiots in forthcoming elections. Cutting health and education!!! This sounds like punishment to me. Really, there isn’t any money in cutting money for building projects, road maint, no cable tv for inmates 1 ply TP for offices, less travel for officials etc?. There are ways to cut the money from less important programs than the ones they listed. Complete morons who have no regard for the citizens of the state. I’m getting really tired of this.

  13. skoolboy32 says:

    The “ANTI/CHRIST” hard @ work!!!!! She’s like a midnight outlaw!!!!!! “WHAT A JOKE”….. nice work in rehiring her WASHINGTON!!!!!

  14. I not sure if Gov. Chris Gregoire is going to cut her pay also… it would show she really felt right in all the pain she is giving to the people who need what they worked so hard to live on. We know Gov. Chris Gregoire doesn’t require all that she “takes” from our state to live. Some of the people that are feeling the cut are at the bottom with no where to go. I’m sure Gov. Chris Gregoire doesn’t care about the hurt and stress she has caused.

  15. fivecardstud says:

    I could come up with allot of savings. Cut all the useless and un-needed people the Gov. has working for them. Quit paying leases on unoccupied buildings and offices across the state. Let the prison system start growing and making their own food like they used too before everyone, like the apple growers for one, started complaining because they weren’t buying their products. They were also training men and women at the same time , like butchers, bakers and cooks, a trade so they could amount to something when they got out. It was a win win situation. The Gov. is the most wasteful institution there is.

  16. chip98404 says:

    pobob says:
    “I not sure if Gov. Chris Gregoire is going to cut her pay also… it would show she really felt right in all the pain she is giving to the people who need what they worked so hard to live on..”

    Actually she has. She is asking the commission that deals with elected officials salaries (including her own) to cut them by 3%.

  17. Commandtiger says:

    See a lot of BS no cuts in the upper managnmentk jobs people who are no loads in The Governors adminastration,, Get rid of them governor and cut your salary and the rest of the no loads that work around you!!!!!

  18. fivecardstud says:

    It’s always the poor and elderly that get it the worst. Do you realize that the highest standards for jobs is in government positions? That’s telling you something right there. It’s pretty bad when the people you pay that work for you have it better than you do. But then the poor, sick and elderly are the easiest to cut. They’re in no position to yell very loud. Why not just euthanize them and be done with it Governor. Think of all the government waste you could afford to keep then. Like I see Patty Murray has an earmark for the salmon attached to the federal budget they’re trying to pass. I mean fish are more important than people. Wake up Washington State Citizens, get rid of her.

  19. smartmoney says:

    When you attempt to feed and house every person that crosses our boarders, while those working here are losing money and hours, the string that is holding it all together is bound to break. Our homes are worth less money yet our property taxes go up. Can’t make your house or tax payment, your out on the street and the State has less income. State needs more money and raises tax on candy & pop, we quit buying and there’s less tax income. It doesn’t take a brain surgeon to realize that taxes are regressive. You can raise taxes and we can stop buying the taxed product, end result, no change! I’m against supporting people that are in the state illeaglly. I am totally against providing health and education to the children of illeagals. And don’t even talk about granting citizenship to the children of illeagals and the US Gov. is. I am tired of paying the bill for these freeloaders that live better than I do! Make INS work for the citizens and not the wanna-bees.

  20. modyfied says:

    @-
    digital says:
    I’d like to hear what Brown & Haley has to say about this.

    They would say “thank you” for keeping jobs here.
    They would also say ‘why blame us alone?
    Look further, Digital, and see who the REAL backers of the tax repeal was…
    Before the tax, these entities taking a hit existed.
    That would be like me lighting a match, and being blamed for the Great Chicago Fire…

  21. modyfied says:

    Also- These cuts were made in this area to CAUSE an outcry.
    If state wages, benefits, or downright laying off state workers were implimented, useless programs cut, and welfare reform carried out, do you think the people would be crying?
    NO, Gregoire WANTS you to blame somewhere else, when in reality it lies with HER.

  22. BlaineCGarver says:

    You knew The Queen would punish the most needy, instead of a fair across the board reduction.

  23. “How can that much be saved on closure a special quality of life institution?”

    A bit less then 5.25 million over two years.

  24. she has raised the budget by a third in her terms as governor id like to see at least that much cut

  25. “You knew The Queen would punish the most needy, instead of a fair across the board reduction.”

    Actually, across the board reductions would be worse for the needy, unless you include K-12 education.

    One problem, the constitution protects K-12 from a lot of any proposed cuts.

  26. Enjoy your 13.3 oz. of candy cane roca ! Maybe sick and disabled children kicked out on the street can use the container as a bed pan.

  27. Chip908404 says, “That is not scant. I suggest you try living on $300.00 per month less than you have right now”

    What makes you think I’m not? 3% is scant compared to 100% for many of us. Fortunately, I’m 62 and could file for social security of $1285 a month, as long as it lasts. I’ve paid into it all my life.

    When working I paid 70% for health insurance premiums. How much are public union workers paying? 12% to 15%? Who pays the other 88% to 85%? Taxpayers like me.

    Even on VA Medical, I pay money out of pocket for the little care I require so far. My wife has no health insurance at all. Any care she needs comes out of pocket.

    $300 a month decrease? I wish that was all that I had lost since the ‘great recession’ began.

  28. “Enjoy your 13.3 oz. of candy cane roca ! Maybe sick and disabled children kicked out on the street can use the container as a bed pan.

    scribble a cartoon and make it right cartoon boy!

  29. My husband, a 40 year employee with the state of Washington, has been reduced to half time AND he is still expected to take the state furlough days. The kicker is that the agency he works for is very excited about the recent replacement of their computers network and hardware.
    I remember a report that showed there was one supervisor for every 3 state employees. Heck, reduce the number of supervisors and they could probably balance the budget!

  30. man! cartoon maaaan!

  31. nonstopjoe says:

    kmac609: You may be right about 1 supervisor per 3 workers, but anybody who’s seen a DOT crew might think otherwise. I’ve seen too many instances where 1 or 2 were doing work with half a dozen or more looking on. My thought has always been that the observers should (at least) hide themselves from the view of taxpaying public.

  32. swade2569 says:

    TNT would be well informed to note that in the public employee email that was sent out, the Gov said “In that same spirit, I, and all statewide elected officials have asked the commission that sets our salary to give us an equal decrease in pay.” Something I see this reporter didn’t mention.

  33. Daisydog says:

    I POSTED THIS ORIGINALLY EARLIER THIS MORNING ON ANOTHER STORY-

  34. Daisydog says:

    You’re a mean one, Ol’ Christine,
    You really are a heel.
    You’re as cuddly as a cactus,
    You’re as charming as an eel.
    Ol’ Christine

    You’re a bad banana
    With a greasy black peel.

    You’re a monster, Ol’ Chrisitne,
    Your heart’s an empty hole.
    Your brain is full of spiders,
    You’ve got garlic in your soul.
    Ol’ Chrisitne.

    I wouldn’t touch you, with a
    thirty-nine-and-a-half foot pole.

    You’re a vile one, Ol’ Chrisitne,
    You have termites in your smile.
    You have all the tender sweetness
    Of a seasick crocodile.
    Ol. Chrisitne.

    Given the choice between the two of you
    I’d take the seasick crockodile.

    You’re a foul one, Ol’ Chrisitne,
    You’re a nasty, wasty skunk.
    Your heart is full of unwashed socks
    Your soul is full of gunk.
    Ol’ Chrisitne

    The three words that best describe you, are as follows, and I quote:
    Stink, Stank, Stunk!

    Read more: http://www.thenewstribune.com/2010/12/14/1465381/plan-would-cut-number-of-state.html#ixzz18Db5GeXE

  35. vikefan66 says:

    @ nonstopjoe – I’ll b!tch all I want. I voted for someone who was able to successfully balance a $2.7B shortfall before all while gaining bipartisan support. A businessman who was able to make money despite a suffering economy. It’s just too bad that so many other people fear change/welcome complacency so strongly.

    @ wadsbrau – A punishment is exactly what it is. Immediately after we voted to repeal sin taxes and that we want a voice in whether we have to give them more money to misapproriate, she made a public statement that she was disappointed in our vote and since we voted that way, we’ll have to cut education and health services.

    @ NineInchNachosII – The sin tax had little to do with education and health. It was about trying to put money back where they had redirected it. Money has been funneled from education and health budgets long before there was a tax on selected candy products (but not chocolate covered cookie bars like Twix, because those aren’t “candy”) and bottled water. And it was a foot-in-the-door tactic. How long do you think it would have been before they were taxing all food product had this not been repealed?

  36. OMG…this is insane. Is this state for real? Wow…I’ve lived in WA my entire life. Born and raised. And for the last 3 years, I’ve been trying desperately to move my family elsewhere. This state just keeps on getting worse and worse. My family’s personal situation probably can’t get much worse thanks to this economy…and now I read this? Alls I can say is, someone get that piece of crap out of office and quick. I used to be a huge supporter of hers. This was the icing on the cake for me though. I’m done with this state and all the BS it’s putting our people through.

  37. Andibee says: I used to be a huge supporter of hers.

    you made this mess by voting for this pos now you want to run away and screw up another state with your liberal agenda? sleep in the bed you made

  38. mojjonation says:

    That’s a great picture of the History Museum. What’s that ugly thing in the background? Oh that’s right, the Museum of Gl(ASS). If you want to close something, close that place.

  39. stillbroke says:

    Well Missy- Welcome the real world….Now you know how most of us feel???

  40. Maybe the Governor can get the People that run the Casinos, to give her a bailout,or did the rumor that they had already donated that money for the Queens reelection, true? I also agree with vikefan66.This assesment of the current situation,In my view is right on the mark.Also if the governor asked for an equal decrease in pay for her and all elected State Officials,i,m sure she did it with a sly Wink!

  41. ladystar1 says:

    That woman is so pleased with herself, that so many people quit smoking because cigarettes are so over priced in WA. Sure sounds like she could use some of the tax dollars now, that were once provided by cigarette sales. What is actually comical, is not that many smokers quit, they just found another way to get their supply, like rolling their own. Oh well, that no smoking law put a lot of those wretched bars out of business, when their customers started going to tribal casinos, where they could have fun and relax with no harassment over smoking. A big thanks should go out to all church members, and all other nanny do gooders, who wouldn’t be seen entering a bar, but still went to the trouble to vote for the no smoking restrictions, and high taxation that that caused a major loss of revenue. Hopefully they will feel the affects of what they have caused.
    I would like to get into the issue of the cost of lost timber dollars, thanks to the greenie crowd, who ruined our once thriving timber industry, causing the failure of many businesses. Oh well there is really no point in talking about the causes that have brought the the once great State of Washington to its knees. Who cares? Clearly it is not the people with the power.

  42. All the candy/ pop tax isnt going to fix this one!! Thanks Financial Bailout!

  43. BigBlockChev says:

    Will they be having a garage sale at the Washington State History Museum? I’d like to buy some of that stuff… I’d buy Ezra’s Meekers old oxen – are they still in there? How about that old mummy – still got that?

    Actually, the new history museum, in my opinion, is overrated with its boring ‘stylized exhibit’ format. Everythingas been “dumbed down”. You can learn more about history visiting a local antique store. Move it back to the old building by Stadium where you could really mingle with the artifacts and the musty smell… It was way better then.

    Once you clear out all of the museum junk and move it back to its righful place by Stadium, renovate the new museum into a bsketball venue and give it to the UW.

  44. sidvector says:

    education cuts are very irritating. how are we ever going to have great business in this state when we continually cut education? better education in our schools and colleges will bring more business opportunities which will bring more jobs which will create more revenue for the state. what family wants to move here and set up a business if all they have to choose for employees are untrained and ignorant prospects?
    The Washington State Historical museum is a fine example of an educational opportunity for our citizens. Close it! Maybe the crooks in Tacoma’s government can find a way to foreclose on the property and reopen it themselves. it’s a possible new revenue stream for ya…
    PS: ya-all take your partisan crap and shove it.

  45. tree_guy says:

    Several years ago a gubernatorial candidate named Dino Rossi predicted that over indulgent spending patterns would result in the eventual meltdown of the State Budget. It’s sure beginning to look like he was correct. Boy did we choose the wrong leader.

  46. dollars to schools; do not equate to a good education involved parents and engaged teachers do.

  47. lets get rid of the schools upper management

  48. bruceo2000 says:

    Republicans should be excited and happy. We are paying the least inflation adjusted taxes in our life time. We’re slashing the budget by billions.
    My liberal position is we should have raised taxes and cut nothing. Be happy, you won. Go dance in the street.

  49. She kept denying this would happen while lavishing taxpayer money on her supporters to get re-elected. She has never been about “We” only me me me. You got what Seattle voted for and what the trial lawyers, tribes and unions paid for – a disaster.

  50. PolarBear53 says:

    Cut some more, dont stop!

  51. willholl says:

    I work for the Feds and all I can say is welcome to the club..20 odd years ago when Gran-Rugman cut our staff from 135 to 25 a hit we never have recovered from.. now its the Sates turn to get raped!

  52. dinocrusher says:

    why not just cash in that rainy day fund?

    I wonder if she decided this over her restored $10k plus table.

    taking from the less fortunate, kids & disabled proves there is no creativity and that that the government is not willing to sacrifice within.

  53. windfarmsforthecape says:

    Keep cutting Christine. If you had not blown so much of our hard-earned money on worthless spending programs over the past 6 years, we would not be in this mess now.
    The rest of us are forced to live within our means; the last election showed that we expect our government to do so also.
    Amazing how our leadership is so quick to rape the kids and the poor, yet still have money for her favored programs. She was also bragging about the 3% increase in spending for the state employees. Gosh. They do still have jobs Christine. You may not have noticed; but, thousands our your fellow Washingtonians have been laid off…
    Now start cutting on the real programs…

  54. Novelist3 says:

    You people kept voting for her.
    I voted for Rossi. And every single day I find that decision more and more valid.

  55. ogobeone says:

    “all we have accomplished over the last six years”

    It would have been stupendously brilliant if the Democrats had recognized that this was coming six years ago. I think they should have taken precautions against the possibility that the boom was bound to bust. All these “accomplishments” could have been money ploughed into a rainy-day fund and could have prevented such drastic cuts.

    But that’s not how Democrats think. The short term is too seductive.

  56. ogobeone says:

    Now that I have skewered the Democrats over their short-sightedness, let me demonstrate equal vitriol toward the Rossi-led Republicans. If they were in this situation, they would have cut State and local government to the bare bone and would have no choice but to do the opposite of Christine Gregoire’s solution: raise taxes.

    The selfish lack of foresight among our politicians is shameful.

  57. LeavingSoon says:

    The word going around within state management is to sit tight. The plan seems to be that this budget will cause the masses to beg to be taxed more to keep the cuts from being put into place.

    I usually don’t buy this kind of crap but these days there isn’t much I would put past government.

  58. upsidedownflag says:

    I suggest a flat 15% income tax with no exemptions to be split by State and Feds. End all non essential services except fire, police etc. Make welfare a 6 month helping hand not a way of life. The middle class cannot support all these unfunded programs any longer. Stop SSI for drug addicts. Make companies want to be in WA and stop driving them away. Without employers, no jobs or taxes to collect. Give the power back to the States and eliminate all the big government programs. No benefits for non citizens to include DAC attorneys, welfare, interpreters, health care, SSI or foodstamps. Trim the fat, cut off the leeches, end all social programs except Social Security.

  59. I’m guessing she is making these cuts in order to force a vote on creating a state income tax. She’ll cut everything important until she convinces enough people that she needs our tax dollars more than we do and everyone caves to her tax demands.

  60. futballtaxi says:

    She’s just trying to punish us bad bad voters for not voting for the state income tax and voting out her tax on water and candy. She is a true Machiavellian.

  61. northwestchick says:

    Get rid of her already!! She should get a pay cut just as much as the next person.. How about we let her live on $8.00 an hour just to see how’s she’s doing in 6 months!

  62. bobcat1a says:

    The Obama/Gregoire haters have so inculcated their opposition to anything democratic that the new American motto to replace E PLURIBUS UNUM has now effectively become “Hell no, we can’t.” Can’t what? Why, can’t anything! Can’t help sick children, can’t protect the aged, can’t educate the young, can’t treat the terminally ill who have lost their insurance. CAN HAVE THE BIGGEST GOSHDARNED MILITARY the world has ever seen.

  63. upsidedownflag says:

    Bobcat You forgot can’t balance the budget under the new socialist movement.

  64. leftybender says:

    I feel like this is some sort of strategy that implies that the people don’t know whats good for the community. Why isn’t bringing our economy back on track a solution? How about some options for boosting our economy? We have this Governor that is doing her best Eeyore impersonation trying to cut services that have been around for decades(history Museum). Like we have less money for government now than twenty years ago. Don’t fight the problem, let’s solve it. Will this state shut down if we stop giving money to wsdot, General Administration, or Dept. of Ecology? The way our General Fund works our state has a lot of freedom to dole out who gets money and who doesn’t. What’s the problem with Pierce County? This county seems to get the blunt of the damage whenever there is a budget problem. We need stronger politicians from this area. Is Seattle going to close one of it’s major Museums to help out the budget? These are the types of solutions you get when you hire a state employee. We need to hire a person who has experience in coming up with good ideas and sustainable and realistic solutions. She just wants to raise taxes. What we need is more customers so we can have more jobs and then we can contribute to this state with more spending.

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