Sunday, December 12, 2010

Seattle Times: State lawmakers skip drama, cut budget by millions

In a rare one day Special Session the Washington State Legislature met on Saturday to cut the budget.
The State Senate did meet on the floor, suspended rules intended to slow things down, referred the bills to the Ways & Means Committee for brief public testimony, and executive session to vote on passing the bills back out of committee. The House did the same, strangely quick. outgoing House Ways & Means Chair Kelli Linville remarked during the testimony in committee that it was going so quickly. She looked around the committee meeting room after the speakers that had signed up had already spoken to see if there was anybody else that wanted to testify. A few lobbyists went on record, almost apologetically, pointing out that we all know where we are and what is happening.
Quick and painful.

As the 4Culture, Arts and Heritage, as well as others that are wanting the King County hotel taxes to be given to the county, and the county and city governments go ask for more taxing authority for transportation, be sensitive to the situation many small communities find themselves in.

Below is a summary of what was cut, expect more when the legislature begins the 2011 session on January 10th.

State budget cuts

State budget cuts approved by the Legislature on Saturday include:
$50 million from public schools, including the elimination of funding to keep class sizes smaller in K-4 classrooms.

$51 million from higher education, including $11.4 million from the University of Washington, $7.5 million from Washington State University, $2 million from Western Washington University and $26.4 million from community and technical colleges.

$12.3 million from Disability Lifeline, a program that provides cash payments to the disabled poor. Monthly payments will drop from $339 to $258.

$27.7 million by reducing enrollment in the Basic Health Plan, a subsidized insurance program for the working poor. The state won't fill slots as they come open.

$48.4 million from the Department of Corrections, including the closure of the McNeil Island Corrections Center.

Reducing payments to health-care centers that receive federal money.

Reducing emergency payments to families in need but not on welfare. One-time payments will drop from $1,250 to $1,000.

Eliminating nonemergency adult dental care for the poor.

$13.8 million by extending last year's furloughs for state employees to include all Department of Social and Health Services employees, and requiring them to take two additional furlough days.

$17 million from natural-resources programs, including $5.8 million from the Department of Ecology.

A 6.2 percent across-the-board reduction in the governor's office, the budget office, the Legislature, the judiciary and the offices of separately elected statewide officials.

Source: Washington State Senate Democrats,

Washington State Legislature
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