Gov. Chris Gregoire is unveiling her preferred cuts budget now. Watch live on TVW.
“Another $2 billion in the hole and citizens will get a lot less of what they expect,” she said. “This morning, it’s not about cold, hard numbers: This is very personal. We’re talking about real Washingtonians.” She said these cuts will hurt many in the state, including seniors who won’t be able to afford prescriptions, those just out of prison with nowhere to go — tempted back into crime, a community corrections officer who worries about the safety of neighborhoods, and the homeless mentally ill who won’t be able to get help, among others.
“The people of our state are not spending. Businesses are not hiring. We need to cut $2 billion more,” she said. “We’re done with what I call the Pac-Man budgeting approach,” she said, where the state has taken bite after bite of budgets. Now, it’s time for full program eliminations. She said these cuts, on top of the $10 billion in cuts over the past three sessions, will hurt.
Gregoire was asked repeatedly about new revenue. She said she hasn’t done the work on revenue ideas, but she has been asked by all four caucuses about the issue.
Gregoire’s office just sent out a list of some of the cuts:
- Eliminate the Basic Health Plan, ending subsidized health care to 35,000 low-income individuals.
- Cut off medical services to 21,000 people enrolled in the state’s Disability Lifeline and ADATSA (Alcoholism and Drug Abuse Treatment Support Act) programs.
- Trim 15 percent from the support the state provides to colleges and universities.
- Reduce levy equalization, which helps property poor districts, by 50 percent.
- Cut the length of supervision for all offenders, based on severity of offense. Sex offenders will be supervised for 24 months, and all other offenders, for 12 months.