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Budget deal includes 1.9% teacher pay cut, 16 percent tuition hike, shrinking safety net

Post by Jordan Schrader / The News Tribune on May 24, 2011 at 12:25 pm with 38 Comments »
May 24, 2011 12:29 pm

Details of the $32.2 billion budget deal released today after negotiations between Republicans and Democrats in the Senate and House:

  • Makes $4.6 billion in total cuts to what would otherwise be spent over the next two years. There are also $458 million worth of transfers of money and $57 million in new revenue mainly from fees.
  • Cuts 1.9 percent in pay for teachers and other staff. School administrators will be cut 3 percent. Teachers’ longevity pay increases won’t be frozen.
  • Cuts 3 percent in pay for other state employees, as agreed to in contract negotiations. Unlike teachers, the cuts will come in the form of unpaid furloughs and pay levels will bounce back after two years.
  • Ends the main annual cost-of-living-increase in pension payments to retired state employees and teachers.
  • Increases class sizes in kindergarten through fourth grade.
  • Cuts $618 million or 22 percent from universities and colleges’ budgets. The budget assumes an annual 16 percent increase in tuition at the University of Washington, Washington State and Western Washington, with 14 percent at Central Washington and Evergreen State, 12 percent at community colleges and 11 percent at Eastern Washington. Universities will get the authority to set their own tuition, though, and could raise tuition even more if they offer more financial aid.
  • Eliminates cash grants to the temporarily disabled, replacing them with housing aid. Maintains state-funded medical care for the disabled.
  • Tightens eligibility for state health insurance coverage for immigrant children, reducing it from 250 to 200 percent of the poverty level — but not freezing admission into the program.
  • Continues a freeze on enrollment in the Basic Health Plan’s state subsidized insurance.
  • Cuts 10.6 percent from the Medicaid payments rates for low-income health clinics and makes smaller cuts to Medicaid rates for hospitals. To avoid major cuts to nursing homes, puts a new fee in place on the homes.
  • Cuts paid time for in-home health care workers by 10 percent.
  • Creates a new $30-a-year vehicle pass that visitors to state recreation lands must pay, allowing state parks to shift off the state’s general fund.
  • Cuts 7 to 10 percent statewide from management and administration.
Leave a comment Comments → 38
  1. the3rdpigshouse says:

    Where are the cuts to welfare, subsidized housing, food stamps, WIIC program, etc.?????

  2. another compassionate conservative, huh little piggy?

  3. Pecksbadboy says:

    What cuts did the state legislators pass for themselves? Insurance co-pay, droping family members. no retreats or travel stipens?

  4. WHY should we pay ANYTHING for the children of immigrants? WHY? Our tax $$$ do NOT grow on trees. We should take of our OWN first. Sheesh.

  5. taxedenoughintacoma says:

    I hope all you parents out there remember that when your best teacher gets laid off that the democrats did nothing to tax the tribal casinos or get them to renegotiate their compact with Chris Gregoire.

    Don’t forget the deal the tribes made with her in exchange for $600,000.00 in campaign donations. She with democrat support has created a revenue shortage that every other state in the nation enjoys.


    News story reports that tribal casinos on the Mississippi or costing those states millions $$$ A DAY!!!! Our tribal casinos pay NOTHING to the state. Remember this as your children continue to be dummied down by our under funded education system. Do buy the argument from the tax the rich crowd. They are the same ones that take Indian campaign donations so they have a tax free ride. Now the state lets them sell gas and then rebate back the tax they pay.

    Taxing the tribes would more than make up for the education funding shortfall. Ask your legislator what they will do about it. If they take Indian donations they will do nothing.

  6. Looks like the gap in public vs private is shrinking!

  7. Joe Mondo says:

    “WHY should we pay ANYTHING for the children of immigrants? WHY?”

    Fair question, regaring continued health coverage.

    A fair answer, I’d suggest, is that disease transmission is not concerned with immigration status. It’s bad public health policy to keep people from getting access to health care – and even if you don’t care if they’re sick, it might matter that they can transmit illnesses to your children or grandchildren, or even you.

  8. madness. How much budget gap potholes could we fill if we sold off a bunch of those nukes and submarines to like India or something?

    Cut education and social safety nets ? That is a recipe for civil unrest.

  9. fuqutribune says:

    “Welfare” has already been cut and the money you’re talking about now is the money to temporarily disabled…so, be still your evil, most likely racist, heart, they got ‘em!

  10. Alison7613 says:

    How about a 30 percent cut for school administrators who do nothing all day long but practice their golf swings, use the money for teachers to lower class size, the housing stipend for the disabled will do nothing since it won’t cover housing, and lower salaries for the upper tiers to include: government officials at the top of the rung and their cadillac benefits package. How about not throwing the disabled out to the wolves? I know that is easy to do because what can a person who can’t walk do? Smack you with their one working finger?

  11. And where are the cuts to the Governor and senators and reps’ salaries?

  12. taxedenoughintacoma says:

    It appears the unions made out AOK here. I don’t see any layoffs or significant reduction in the size of government.

    They bragged about privatizing the state print shop. They said that was a no brainer and “low hanging fruit”. They couldn’t even close down that boondoggle of a state service.

    State democrat legislators are so beholding to the unions that they refuse to change a thing that will save money.

    So they balance the budget on the backs of those that don’t vote. YOU KIDS.

  13. Glubber says:

    For those of you WONDERING where are the cuts to elected official salaries, it can NOT be done unless the state constitution is modified. Now, to add more fuel to the fire, the REPUBLICANS did propose to submit to voters such a change. But ALAS, the DEMOCRATS killed that proposal…

    Kinda like term limits. We passed that as an iniative in the 90’s, but Tom Foley and the DEMOCRATS successfully fought that in the courts and got it overturned.
    Makes me wonder when I see all these people accusing the Republicans, when they are NOT in charge of the legislature!

    Tis sad…their not informed vote, cancels out my informed vote..

  14. rockrabbit says:

    How did the History Museum make out?

  15. taxedenoughintacoma says:

    Here is the headlines for Wed. morning TNT:

    Unions and tribes continue to dodge the budget bullet. They continue to rule the state democrat legislators.

  16. taxedenoughintacoma says:

    The day they lay off one of their managers I will kiss your butt and give you a week to draw a crowd.

    Ain’t never going to happen.

  17. Glubber–The legislators can tell OFM (Office of Financial Management) to withhold part of their pay. Frank Chopp did it, a Democrat. I don’t see any Republicans stepping up to the plate and volunteering to take a pay cut. The only thing I see Republicans doing is spending more of the states money than they bring in. Also check OFM you will see that counties that are highly represented by Democrats take less than dollar for every dollar they take in and the counties that tent to be represented by Republicans I.E. Eastern and South West counties take more than a dollar for every dollar they contribute. If the Republican counties and Republicans could just live within their means the budget might balance. And give up this idea of wealth distribution!

  18. taxedenoughintacoma says:

    It’s Frank Chopp’s fault there is a special session. He should be the first to give back his pay. He doesn’t need it anyway. His union bribes more than make up for the pennies he gives back to the state.

  19. Swfan1969 says:

    Before anyone goes hopping on the Teachers union for fighting for the teachers. They are losing 1.9% but also remember they have actually lost more than that in the last few years so its actually very fair that they are not getting chopped 3% like other state employees. Teachers haven’t had a COLA increase, which was approved by legislature and then immediately taken away by Dino Rossi and his pitifull little band of Republicans. Teachers cant be given furlough days either because unlike other state union workers, teachers are required to teach for 180 days. If they started a furlough system on teachers, parents would just be getting angrier that their child has another day off of school and they wrongfully blame the teachers. And while we are on that subject, the general public always whine that a teacher gets pretty good pay for only 180 days of work….actually the legislatures earn the same, if not more for only 100 days of work. Nobody lobbies teachers and gives them money for kickbaks, but legislatures are always happy to receive a campaign fundraiser check. So next time you think about contributing $300 to a campaign, why dont you instead donate that money to where it will get some real use……a classroom. Maybe then a teacher wont be teaching your child U.S. or State history out of a book that it so outdated, that it lists John Spellman as the current Governor and Ronald Reagan as the current U.S. President.

  20. Swfan1969 says:

    By the way, if and when the state becomes solvent again, are they going to give back the money they took away? I didn’t think so.

  21. KGE1911 says:

    There are members of both parties refusing their per diem. Of course they all should be refusing it. In fact we should pass an initiative to fine every single legislator for every day they go into a special session. I’m tired of their lack of planning and just plain incompetence. There’s no excuse for them to continually be in a special session year after year.

  22. BigSwingingRichard says:

    It will be interesting to see if the local school districts, such as Tacoma, will impose the 1.9% reduction in pay or keep paying an average of more than $86,000 per teacher for salaries, benefits and training, or if they will take the funds from other areas like closing more schools, supplies, athletics, etc.

    I wonder if they will close more schools and blame it on the legislature and continue to pay too much to the teachers.

    Kurt Miller has already blamed school funding problems on greedy Wall Street banks. Let the threats of teachers strikes begin.

  23. 4thpighouse says:

    Hey taxedenough- please quote the bribes you’re talking about…when, where, how much, etc. Don’t just jump in here and make statements that you cannot prove. And don’t say that a politician is taking a “bribe” because of a campaign donation from organized labor. That’s not the same, just like the Republicans taking donations from churches, the NRA and corporate America are not bribes. It’s just the same old tired blah. blah, blah from you so called “Conservatives,”

  24. TheMASO says:

    Immigrant children…they would all go back to where they came from if this state would enforce immigration laws instead of passing criticism on states such as AZ which truely try. Stop all the welfare and public assistance to illegal/undocumented aliens!!!
    Washington is one of two sanctuary states; the other is NM. This is costing the US taxpayers in excess of $332B per year and WA state taxpayers $1.3B per year. Until the federal and this state government address illegal immigration you will not find any support here! People are sick and tired of providing handouts–the DREAM Act is just another branch of the tree!!!

  25. Mudbone says:

    @ TheMASO; obumo and other demoncraps want those votes! They don’t care if the illegals are inconveniencing real citizens and taking OUR money. There should be NO Spanish or other languages used in government forms and offices, etc. You should not have to push #1 for English! In California hospitals have been forced out of business because of all of the illegals wanting free medical care! obumo just wanted to get his health care scheme passed at any cost. Look at what happens any time the government takes over something! Social Security, Medicare, etc.! Now they want to ruin health care!

  26. steilacoomtaxpayer says:

    Why are Mudbone’s insult laden comments not flagged or eliminated? He is appalling in his lack of insight, his negative attitude and disdain for others. I am a consevartive and this “person” is a disgrace!!

  27. crusader says:

    Unions and tribes prevail. The typical taxpayer – not so much.

  28. hortonpeak says:

    Tell you what. Everyone who is not indigenous to this nation leave and let us start all over. If you are someone who would be left please speak up, if not – stfu.

  29. bobcat1a says:

    Mudbone is rather mild compared to the grinding screech that passes for discourse from the third piggy. Although I will grant that s/he is at least as simplistically feckless. I wonder when s/he thinks the government “took over” social security and medicare.

  30. bobcat1a says:

    crusader, I thought the teachers were part of a legislature bribing corrupt enterprise (union). Now that the legislature has screwed the teachers, are they still prevailing? You should give your rants the internal consistency test before you hit submit.

  31. spotted1 says:

    When was the last time the teachers actually received a COLA? Yet the government puts it out there like it is some major cut. They never planned to give a voter approved COLA to the teachers anyways.

    Ah well, it is really all just numbers on paper. Not like anyone is really paying attention to where the money is coming from and going to…

  32. All of this is the result of Democrats having almost absolute control of Washington state government for far too long. Budget defiicits, mindless spending, waste of our tax dollars, punishing taxes even on low income people, and absolute support of labor unions and the increase of wages and benefits of government employees forever. They buy our votes with their irresponsible promises.
    As long as you keep voting for democrats, they will continue to weaken our state and our nation. Stop voting for them mindlessly all the time and they will have to adopt responsible policies at long last.

  33. ltkeffer says:

    The problems we are having here are related not to the democrats or republicans, but more due to the laziness of the public. We must get people off of welfare and other similar state aid. We need to get these lazy folks to start working, even if it is for minimum wage.

  34. Fine give me a job!! i got a stupid Felony 20 years ago and can’t get “real” work. I took any stupid job I could get ending up destroying my knee moving furniture under the table. Now you’re taking away my only lifeline temporary disability?!!

  35. Mitchbert says:

    How many billions would be raised if religious institutions had to pay property tax? Unfortunately, that would be just a unconstitutional as taxing the tribes.

  36. Michael says:

    @itkeffer – You must be out of touch with reality. Have you looked at the data for unemployment rates? People are trying to find work and there not finding it. I’m sure people just LOVE trying to live on $50 a month.

    So my tuition is going to go up 16%? How am I supposed to come up with that kind of money? I NEVER should’ve moved to WA. I didn’t know this state was this messed up. That’s saying something as I moved from FL, one of the hardest hit areas in the country.

  37. steilacoomtaxpayer says:

    Michael–you are right, a lot of people moved here on false beliefs. Move back, good to see ya go! Brook–you gotta be kidding, do you really think we care about your plight? You “got a stupid felony”, really, how, did you commit a crime against a person? You should be happy with what you have, not much and very little. Part of the sentence, fool.

  38. planebus says:

    Just to let you people out there that are hating the public employees. We are the ones that run the state and the schools. We are the ones that get your kids to and from school every day clean up after your kids everyday. Also we are the ones that take care of your elderly and disabled population. Clean all of your public buildings fill the potholes sweep your streets and maintain your parks. We do this for not a lot of money we are not getting rich the pay we get is not great. The people that make the money are in management not the little guys like myself that are the peons and members of a union. You need to look at the top people that have individual contracts with the districts or state that is where the money is not the little guys. And to let you all know I do pay into my own insurance and into my own retirement so there.

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