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Budget roundup

Post by Jordan Schrader / The News Tribune on Dec. 20, 2010 at 8:21 am with No Comments »
December 20, 2010 8:21 am

We’ve written a lot about Gov. Chris Gregoire’s plans for closing the more than $5 billion budget gap projected for the next two and a half years, including stories by The Associated Press and our news partners at The Olympian. In case you missed any of it:

A weekend story takes a look at some of the user fees for state services that are being explored. Hikers, cyclists and other visitors to the state’s parks and forests would start paying for it, including through a fee on car tabs. Fishing and hunting would cost more.

Democratic leaders’ cuts to human services could end the programs those same leaders have supported over the years. Advocates say they will shred the safety net for the most vulnerable.

Cultural programs are taking a hit too. The state’s history museums would both be closed, including the one in downtown Tacoma.

State agencies would be consolidated under the plan, including a merger of the parks and wildlife departments.

On Friday, Gregoire released her plan for closing the short-term gap through June. State lawmakers helped with that. One thing the supplemental budget plan doesn’t do is ask state workers for more sacrifices; Gregoire thinks they’re doing enough by covering the cost of health care inflation, potentially losing some pension benefits, and agreeing to take a 3 percent pay cut.

And about that pay cut: It doesn’t apply to the state’s top officials. Some are donating part of their paychecks to match the cut.

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