Browsed by
Tag: budget cuts

Special session adjourns after trimming budget $480m

Special session adjourns after trimming budget $480m

Washington lawmakers have adjourned their unprecedented 17-day November-December emergency session designed to start trimming the state budget to size. But they won’t be gone for long.  The regular 2012 session, supposedly limited to 60 days, is just around the corner — Jan. 9. The Democratic-controlled Legislature didn’t do the complete $2 billion budget-and-tax deal that Democratic Gov. Chris Gregoire had strongly recommended when she called the session.  They gave strong bipartisan agreement to a plan, House Bill 2058, that begins…

Read More Read More

The gathering storm

The gathering storm

During the holiday season, the Capitol Campus usually is as quiet as a college library during finals. Not this year, and especially not this week. At least 3,000 protesters were expected to assemble on campus to hold rallies as the Legislature convened Monday for a special session to try to fix a $2 billion state budget gap. Most of the protesters are worried about proposed cuts to state programs and services, including social and health services, public schools and higher…

Read More Read More

Gregoire proposes sales tax hike, budget cuts

Gregoire proposes sales tax hike, budget cuts

Gov. Chris Gregoire has proposed a $2 billion all-cuts rewrite of the ailing state budget, along with a plan to ask the voters to OK a three-year state sales tax hike of a half-cent to head off some of the cuts. The Democratic governor said the Legislature already has slashed the state budget by $10 billion in the past three years, “shredding” the state safety net and whacking K-12, higher education and other areas.  She said her latest list of…

Read More Read More

WA lawmakers button down hard-times session

WA lawmakers button down hard-times session

Washington lawmakers are heading back to their home districts after completing a brutal recession-era 135-day session.  Budget cutbacks, including salaries of state employees and teachers and budgets of virtually every area of government, were the rule of the day as lawmakers grappled with a budget gap of billions. Cuts and freezes totaling $4.6 billion will affect K-12, higher education, “safety  net” programs, and a variety of state services, from parks to prisons.  The $32 billion two-year budget takes effect July…

Read More Read More

Gov signs emergency budget cuts

Gov signs emergency budget cuts

Washington Gov. Chris Gregoire has signed the Legislature’s $360 million plan for emergency budget cuts to help the state weather the next four months.  She vetoed the plan for a 3 percent pay cut for non-union state employees and a $1 million reduction in executive branch communications staff. The compromise budget proposal sped through both houses on Friday and the bill was rushed to the waited governor for action.  She hailed the “collaborative and bipartisan” approach to dealing with the…

Read More Read More

A modest uptick for WA treasury

A modest uptick for WA treasury

Amid continuing state budget angst, the state’s chief economist reported a tiny ray of sunshine Monday.  The new tax collection report for the past month is up about $24 million. That’s peanuts compared with the $5 billion budget gap that faces lawmakers, of course, and swamps the $700 million worth of spending cuts the governor and the Legislature just approved as they try to get the state’s budget back in balance.  But it’s the right direction. Arun Raha, director of…

Read More Read More

Tightening the belt: Gregoire orders spending cuts

Tightening the belt: Gregoire orders spending cuts

Governor Gregoire has just inked an executive order requiring most agencies and programs of Washington state government to trim their sails some more.  The actual percentage — in the 4-to-7-percent range — will be filled in by the state budget office after the new revenue forecast is released on Thursday morning. The cuts, which take effect Oct. 1, will apply to all programs without a constitutional protection, such as basic aid-to-education, bond debt service and pensions, or federal entitlements.  A…

Read More Read More

Elway survey: Local governments feel the pinch

Elway survey: Local governments feel the pinch

Independent pollster Stu Elway surveys local election officials every five years or so to see what’s on their mind as the most important “issues or opportunities” facing their area for the next five or 10 years.  This year, with the state and nation still mired in recession, it was no surprise to see that budget concerns were the top thing mentioned by six out of 10 officials. In 2005, budget pressures were mentioned by only 35 percent and in 1999,…

Read More Read More

WA economy slowly recovering

WA economy slowly recovering

It’s a slow, hard uphill climb, but Washington’s battered economy is slowly recovering. A new report out from the state Economic and Revenue Forecast Council on Thursday, a preview of the June forecast, paints a somber, yet sort-of-optimistic, picture of recovery.  The economy has grown in each of the last three quarters, consumer sales have been stronger than forecast, and jobs are being created again, writes chief economist Arun Raha.  He adds: “Consumers appear to be willing to spend in…

Read More Read More

State employee furloughs still in the mix

State employee furloughs still in the mix

Furloughs – or “temporary layoffs” – are still being considered as one way to help close a big state government budget gap.  It’s still not clear whether the final budget plans will actually lead to agencies shutting for a day a month, as some states have done. The Senate voted 30-11 on Tuesday to keep the money-saving idea alive.  The revised legislation, Senate Bill 6503, envisions saving roughly $50 million by imposing 10 days-off-without-pay during the upcoming fiscal year – or…

Read More Read More