April 18, 2010

UPDATE 1:15 A.M. 4/13/10: The House adjourned its special session at 1:10 a.m. Tuesday, followed by the Senate at 1:12 a.m. 4/12/10 10:30 p.m.

This is a special update of the Federation Hotline at about 10:30 Monday night.


    The end came quickly and it came bittersweet.

    The Senate followed the House Monday night by passing the compromise supplemental budget that cuts another 1,534 state jobs and closes Pine Lodge Corrections Center for Women and Maple Lane School, but funds state employee health care, keeps residential habilitation centers open – for now – and restores funding for the DSHS Health and Rehabilitative Services Administration (HRSA).

    The Senate vote on the budget, ESSB 6444, was 25-21 with 3 excused. The House earlier Monday night passed it 54-43 with 1 excused.

    The Senate followed the House vote this past weekend and passed the bill raising targeted revenue and closing loopholes. The Senate vote on 2ESSB 6143 was 25-21 with 3 excused.

In the House, an amendment by Rep. Brendan Williams of the 22nd District to reverse the June 2013 closure of Maple Lane School in Grand Mound failed on a vote of 45 yes to 52 no.

    Another amendment from Rep. Pat Sullivan of the 47th District restored most of the funding needed to maintain the DSHS Health and Rehabilitative Services Administration (HRSA). That to head off the 160 layoffs announced by DSHS just this past Thursday. The Sullivan amendment passed on a voice vote. It adds about $2.3 million to HRSA and directs DSHS to maintain employment levels while looking at possible efficiencies.

    To recap, here are other key points to the compromise supplemental budget, ESSB 6444:


    The compromise budget includes the $64.9 million it should take to keep your out-of-pocket costs level through June 2011.


    The compromise budget calls for closure of Pine Lodge by June 2011. This would generate savings of only $7.2 million.


    Maple Lane School in Grand Mound would be phased out by June 30, 2013. Other downsizing but no closures would take place at the other JRA institutions to cut some 35 positions.


    No RHCs would close (remember, Frances Haddon Morgan Center was targeted). But….the budget directs the governor’s budget office to hire a consultant “to determine the optimum residential setting for residential habilitation center clients, including the option to remain in a residential habilitation center.” The report is due Dec. 1. The budget also reduces institutional funding to include cottage consolidations, changing maintenance schedules, reducing adult training programs and reductions in services such as dental care.


    The compromise budget assumes savings from the directive to reduce compensation costs, which could include 10 furlough days in non-exempt agencies if the agencies don’t come up with an alternative.


    Funding is cut 6 percent, reflecting an additional 475 position cuts in Higher Education: UW – 100.8; WSU – 65; EWU – 18.1; CWU – 18.6; TESC – 8.9; WWU – 18.4; Community and Technical Colleges – 245.6.


    At the end of the 2009 session, we said it could’ve been worse, but it could’ve been better. The same can be said this year. But if not for you and your full-court press throughout the session, it would be much worse. You’d have 16 mandatory furlough days, instead of 10 maybe for about a quarter of the state employee workforce. Frances Haddon Morgan Center would be closing—it’s not. You’d be seeing a tripling of health care costs; that should not happen with the infusion of funding the Legislature put into the final budget. You forced legislators to raise revenue and close tax loopholes; they weren’t talking about that in January.

    But, the bottom line is more jobs will be lost, important programs will be cut or cutback, not because you did anything wrong but because of the global economic meltdown. Throughout it all, you showed a kind of courage that most lawmakers voting on your destiny lack.

    You’re always held accountable as public employees. Now it’s time for you to hold the Legislature accountable. The Federation’s biennial endorsements conference is this Saturday.

No comments: