Read a Pacific Northwest, liberal perspective on world, national, and local politics. From majestic Redmond, Washington - the Northwest Progressive Institute Advocate.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Governor Gregoire's budget is unacceptable

Governor Chris Gregoire is currently speaking live at a press conference in Olympia, announcing her 2009-2010 budget proposal, which doesn't look pretty.

Regressive and uncreative are two words I'd use to describe this plan, which is mostly comprised of deep cuts to critical public services that we need to climb out of the economic hole we're in.

Among the "features" of this budget:
  • Funding to reduce class sizes would be slashed by a fourth
  • Teacher cost of living increases would be frozen for the next biennium
  • Pay raises for state workers and home care workers would be dropped
  • Implementation of Initiative 1029 (which funds heightened training for home care workers) would be delayed. I-1029 was just approved by voters in November.
  • Funding for the Basic Health Care Plan, which provides healthcare to low income Washingtonians, would be nearly halved
  • The state's four year colleges would be forced to implement an across the board thirteen percent cut in spending. Community colleges would have to cut spending by six percent.
  • Students would be hit with a substantial tuition hike.
  • Twelve percent cuts for social and health services
  • Financial ad and treatment subsidies for the disabled and those recovering from drug addictions would be ended
  • The closure of thirteen state parks
  • Elimination of the popular seasonal Anacortes to Sidney, British Columbia ferry run that also stops in San Juan Island's Friday Harbor
  • Gutting money for state geologic research on slope stability and emergency preparedness measures, including tsunami evacuation route planning
The governor plans to tap the Rainy Day Fund (which is a good move) and her budget assumes at least a billion dollars in aid from the federal government.

Several reporters asked the governor if she had considered raising revenue so that cuts wouldn't be so brutal. The governor bristled at these questions, appearing incredibly defensive and replying by heatedly asking, "What would you have me do? What would you have me do?"

The governor was just asked at the press conference if she considered closing any tax loopholes or exemptions to bring in additional revenue - something NPI has urged her to do. "I thought of that," the governor said, saying she "rejected" the idea. She did not elaborate, not even a little. "There'll be something for everybody not to like in this budget," Gregoire added later.

Well, Governor, we're not just unhappy with one particular part of your budget, we're unhappy with the whole thing.

This is the best you could up with? This is it? You're slamming students with tuition hikes, you're cutting healthcare for the poorest among us, you're eliminating help for the disabled, but you reject the idea of repealing even a single one of the hundreds of tax loopholes on our books?



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