August 31, 2011

Media reports verify that the state workforce has shrunk

Some didn’t believe us earlier this year when we publicly said that the recession has taken a real toll on the size of state government – and its ability to provide services to the public.Both The Olympian and the Seattle Times report that the number of state employees has shrunk almost 10 percent (some 6,409 positions in General Government alone) since the start of the recession in 2008. The biggest cuts are in DSHS and Corrections.

While some legislative and administration budget-cutters may rejoice, the media reports also say the cuts hurt overall economic recovery, workload has increased and safety is compromised. And the cuts are a drag on retaining good state employees. The Olympian reports the percentage of state employees retiring or resigning (to find higher-paying jobs elsewhere) is the highest it’s been in five years.

What’s ominous – more is on the way. The governor has directed her agencies to prepare for additional cuts of up to $1.7 billion. The governor’s budget director says the 6,400-plus job cuts are only about two-thirds of total expected job cuts.

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