Gov. Jay Inslee‘s budget office has directed state agencies to start notifying employees of the possibility temporary layoffs can begin next Monday for more than 26,000 workers. The layoffs affect workers in 34 agencies that must shut down completely and 24 that shut down partially, while 25 remain fully operational.
Inslee, a Democrat, also is sending an email note directly to state workers saying he remains hopeful of a budget compromise that would make the layoffs unnecessary. A budget must be adopted and signed by the governor by Sunday midnight, June 30, to avert the shutdown.
Here is a copy of Inslee’s note to workers obtained by The Olympian:
Dear fellow state workers,
Last week when I wrote you, negotiators were still working toward a budget agreement and we were preparing contingency plans in case they were unable to do so by June 30. Those negotiations continued all weekend and still continue as I write this.
I’m not giving up. I know legislators can get this done. We aren’t quite there yet, but I remain hopeful.
I know today will be difficult for many of you. Temporary layoff notices will begin being distributed this afternoon as required by law, and I know those notices will generate a high level of anxiety, uncertainty and frustration. It’s difficult enough paying your mortgage or budgeting for a medical procedure without the added prospect of missing a paycheck. I’m doing everything I can to make sure that doesn’t happen – and if legislators send me an agreed-upon budget, it won’t.
I want to stress that these notices in no way diminish the important work you do and the services you provide. While constitutional and statutory mandates dictate which services can continue to operate and which cannot, each and every one of you contributes to keeping Washington and our people healthy and safe.
Thank you for all you do. I’m working day and night to make sure negotiators get the job done so you can continue your good work without interruption. I hope to be in touch with good news soon.
Very truly yours,
Inslee has scheduled a press conference for 2:30 p.m. to talk about the status of the Legislature’s second special session, now in its 13th day. The Republican Senate is demanding that $1 billion new money go into K-12 public schools to answer a Supreme Court ruling without raising taxes, while the Democratic House is refusing to make all of the sacrifices to programs assisting the homeless, disabled, parents on welfare and others in order to get to that level of funding.
Still up in the air is a proposal that passed with 74 votes in the House to raise a net $85 million in revenue by eliminating a tax break for home telephone service that mobile and internet firms have piggy-bagged onto.