February 18, 2010

Governor's revenue plan good start, but RHCs, JRA, DOC still chopped

Gov. Gregoire on Wednesday unveiled her plan to raise revenue to help with the deficit.  While it’s a good start, the $605 million plan falls short.

The governor proposes closing only $11.3 million of some $14 billion in easily accessible tax loopholes.

And in a letter to legislative leaders, she still advocates closing Frances Haddon Morgan Center and Rainier School, downsizing the four juvenile rehabilitation facilities (Maple Lane, Green Hill, Naselle and Echo Glen) and “closing underperforming” facilities in Corrections—a reference to Ahtanum View and Pine Lodge (which supposedly has been put on hold).

On the RHC closures, Gregoire said: “I believe our citizens with developmental disabilities need to be served in the communities.” So much wrong with that statement, but luckily our members in RHCs have been countering that position with solid data provided to legislators.

So, now it’s in the hands of the Legislature. This is not the final word.

In the end, the governor’s package is not large enough to preserve all of the services critical to our long-term economic future. We call on legislators to close more tax loopholes and identify other sources of revenue, on top of what the governor proposed, to ensure those services, programs and facilities are not lost.


The House Wednesday night passed ESSB 6130, the bill lifting the I-960 lid and allowing majority votes of the Legislature to raise revenue. It passed 51-47. It now goes back to the Senate. This is necessary to enact revenue and close tax loopholes. It’s hoped this empowers the Legislature to go much farther than the governor.


It’s hard to say for sure, because there’s always a lot of buzz on the budget this time of year. But it appears the majority Senate Democrats’ budget to be released early next week will call for the full closure of Maple Lane School, the acclaimed juvenile rehabilitation facility in south Thurston County.

The governor did not call for its closure, but the 2009 Legislature commissioned a consultant to recommend a JRA facility to close and the consultants’ report reluctantly picked Maple Lane. The consultants even said closing Maple Lane was “a bad idea.”

So, call your senator at 1-800-562-6000 and tell them to save Maple Lane and all JRA facilities in the Senate budget coming out next week. It’s vital for the continuum of care in JRA.


Call 1-800-562-6000. Tell your legislators:
  • STOP HEALTH CUTS! Tell them to do the right thing. Restore the $300 million in state employee health insurance funds. They created the problem when they underfunded your health plan in 2008. Tell them that only half of that needs to be state funds—the rest would be from federal and other funds.
  • RAISE REVENUE! SUPPORT ESSB 6130 to amend I-960 and allow majority rule on revenue issues. The House passed ESSB 6130 Wednesday night on a vote of 51-47. It now goes back to the Senate.
  • CLOSE TAX LOOPHOLES! SUPPORT HB 3176 to close tax loopholes to recoup hundreds of millions of dollars in lost revenue.
  • OPPOSE FURLOUGHS! OPPOSE SSB 6503, the state employee furlough bill. Its unintended consequences will cost more, not less.
You can also take online action at WFSE.org > Action Center.

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