"Specific laws govern the granting of cost-of-living adjustments or raises to teachers, state employees and care workers.
These hardworking individuals provide immeasurably valuable services to the people of our state. They teach our kids, protect us from dangerous offenders, guard against environmental degradation and provide critical social services to our most vulnerable residents. They are well deserving of adjustments to maintain the value of their salaries.
Unfortunately, we had no choice but to put their raises on hold. The cost of these salary increases would be about $678 million over the next two years. We looked hard at whether we could afford these increases during these difficult times, and saw we could not.
Forgoing the raises allowed us to keep classes smaller in our K-12 schools and protect early learning and teachers’ jobs, as well as avoid even deeper cuts to services for our most vulnerable and health care for children and families.
Governor Gregoire has the highest regard for our teachers, state employees and those who serve the most vulnerable. She is hopeful that our economic situation will improve quickly so funding for salary increases becomes available in the state budget."