June 24, 2010

Governor's proposes "transforming" state budget with more contracting out, downsizing; hints at cuts to health care, pensions, and workers' comp

Gov. Chris Gregoire today unveiled her grand plan to transform the state budget in the face of another $3 billion deficit.

Don’t get us wrong. We have to think outside the box to save funding for vital state programs.

But the governor proposes dusting off former Gov. Gary Locke’s “Priorities of Government” structure. But she set the agenda with a 20-page report that makes the case for more privatization of state services, closures of institutions and health insurance cuts—without any mention of your bargaining rights under the law or the $1 billion you’ve already sacrificed in pay cuts, health cuts, pension cuts and job cuts.

And she’s put together a select committee to oversee this “Son of POG” scheme. There are three labor reps, but the Federation was not invited to participate. There are a few other labor-friendly members, but it has quite a few pro-business and anti-state employee members, including a couple of anti-state employee think tankers and Sen. Joseph Zarelli.

It is a sad day when an effort to "transform" the budget appears to be nothing more than cover for cuts that make no fiscal or common sense.

Hearings will be held around the state. The first and so far only announced date is July 19 in Tacoma.

No comments: