Governor Gregoire has proposed, “with the greatest reluctance,” a new Washington State budget that fills a projected $2.6 billion deficit by cutting $1.7 billion from state programs and using $900 million in “rainy day” savings and fund balances.
But she says she hopes the Legislature won’t pass her own no-new-taxes budget that she was required by state law to submit.
She called her proposal “balanced, but unjust” and said she’ll propose a second budget next month that restores many of the cuts in education, health care and services to the poor – along with a revenue package to pay for it. She vowed to find additional money to retain the Basic Health Program, welfare for unemployable people, and levy equalization for property-poor school districts, and to restore cuts in Head Start, college financial aid, and numerous state-funded health and social service programs.In an unusual letter to the citizens of Washington the governor outlined the case for additional revenue. She said:
“It is not a budget I can live with, nor is it one I believe Washingtonians can live with. … It does not reflect the Washington I know and love.”
The proposed budget cuts the Office of Secretary of State by more than 6.3 percent overall, including 15 percent at the State Library, including institutional libraries and services for the blind. The cuts are on top of 20 percent cuts imposed in the current 2009-11 biennial budget. The budget plan does include $920,000 for reimbursement of costs of doing the signature check for Referendum 71, publishing the state Voters’ Pamphlet and paying legal fees associated with R-71. Voters approved the referendum last month, upholding a new law expanding rights for state-registered domestic partners.