Thursday, December 18, 2008

Governor Budget Proposal Highlights (and Lowlights)

I'm saving any and all editorial or analytical comments for another time. For now, I just want to provide our reader(s) with the nuts and bolts of the Governor's 2009-11 budget proposal. The following is a quick list of cuts by functional area:

EARLY LEARNING

- Suspension of career and wage ladder for child care teachers.
- Suspension of the Family, Friends and Neighbors program.
- Elimination of state funds for the Child Care Resource and Referral Network.

K-12 EDUCATION

- Suspension of 24% of Initiative 728 (the class size reduction measure).
- Reduce levy equalization funding by 33%.
- Suspension of Initiative 732 (salary increases for teachers and K-12 employees).
- Various grant programs and "lower priority programs" are eliminated or reduced.

HIGHER EDUCATION

- Across the board reductions of 13% for four-year institutions and 6% for community and technical colleges.
- Colleges and universities are given the flexibility to determine how to implement the reductions.
- Colleges and universities are given the authority to increase tuition for resident undergraduate students: up to $450/year for research institutions, up to $310/year for TESC and the regional universities, and up to $125/year for community and technical colleges.
- Suspension of Initiative 732 (salary increases for faculty and staff in the community and technical colleges).

PUBLIC SAFETY

- Elimination of supervision for misdemeanants and low-risk felony offenders, and setting community custody sentence lengths at 12 months for most offenders.
- Closure of Naselle Youth Camp (JRA).
- Reduction of funding to expand evidence-based programs in JRA.
- Reduction of chemical dependency treatment funding for adult outpatient and residential services.
- Authorization of early release for elderly and ill offenders.
- Deportation of non-citizen offenders.

HUMAN SERVICES

- Discontinuation of the Adult Day Health Program.
- Elimination of funding for child welfare pilots.
- Elimination of secure crisis residential centers.
- Reduction of nursing home reimbursement rates.
- Closure of Yakima Valley School (DD institution).
- Reduction of funding for mental health services through local RSNs.
- Elimination of grants to individuals in the GA-U program and in the ADATSA program.
- Increase accountability in the WorkFirst program by streamlining the sanction process and helping parents move to work more quickly.

HEALTH CARE

- Reduction of funding for the Basic Health Plan by 42%.
- Suspend funding of subsidized health care coverage to children whose family incomes are between 250% and 300% of the federal poverty level.
- Eliminate medical coverage for the GA-U program.
- Reduction of rates paid to managed care companies.
- Reduction of rates paid to hospitals.
- Elimination of the universal vaccine program.

NATURAL RESOURCES

- Closure of state fish hatcheries.
- Closure of 13 state parks and one environmental learning center completely, and closing other state parks during winter months.
- Reduction of local watershed management technical and financial assistance.
- Elimination of funding for geologic hazard studies.
- Reduction in funding for water resource management, including processing of water rights permits.

GENERAL GOVERNMENT

- Closure of the Visitor Center and reduction of several GA services, including those related to real estate and public and historic facilities.
- Reduction of state pass-through funding for Washington Information Network 211 (CTED).
- Suspension of state grants to public broadcasters (CTED).
- Elimination of funding for Dispute Resolution Centers (CTED).
- Reduction of Growth Management Act funding for technical assistance to local governments (CTED).
- Elimination of funding to train National Guard members as firefighters.

TRANSPORTATION

- Regional Mobility Grants and Trip Reduction Performance Program funding are redirected to other commute reduction activities.
- Elimination of the Sidney-San Juan Islands ferry route.
- Reduction of ferry service on the Point Defiance-Tahlequah run.

GENERAL NOTES

- Funding for all collective bargaining agreements negotiated by the Governor is eliminated.
- Pension funding is reduced by 46.8%.
- The state employee share for health care benefits remains at 12%.

The bottom line is the Governor cuts roughly $3.3 billion from the 2009-11 maintenance level budget, assumes about $1 billion in increased funds from the federal government for economic stimulus (although Congress has yet to pass such a package), fills the rest of the gap with the rainy day fund and other fund transfers.

Stay tuned. We'll try to keep everyone posted as we learn more. -- Dennis

1 comment:

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