Thursday, December 18, 2008

Quick Notes On the Governor's Budget Proposal

I attending a briefing this morning on elements of the Governor's budget proposal, and I took notes as best as I could.

Overall: None of the collective bargaining agreements -- including WFSE's -- are funded. However, the Governor does retain the funding to keep the employee share for health care benefits at 12%. She proposes suspending several initiatives, including the long term care training initiative that passed in November. Her budget also assumes our state will receive $1 billion in federal economic stimulus funds.

DOC: Community corrections is hit hard. Supervision is eliminated for many offenders, and others will have their supervision reduced. The Governor also cuts offender transition funding and recommends the deportation of criminal illegal aliens. She does maintain enhanced supervision of sex offenders and victims programs.

JRA: There are cuts in community-based programs and the Governor recommends closing Naselle Youth Camp.

Economic Services: The Governor maintains funding for TANF and food stamp eligibility, but proposes eliminating the bulk of the GAU program.

Health Care: The biggest cut is a proposed 42% reduction in the BHP. SCHIP is capped at 250% of federal poverty level, nursing home reimbursements are reduced, and there are a multitude of additional cuts in health care and long term care programs.

Human Services: The Governor's proposal protects contract provider rates, but eliminates all pilot projects related to foster care -- including the WFSE-supported intensive foster home pilot -- cuts prevention services, eliminates the Council on Children & Families, the Family Policy Council, community networks, and crisis residential centers.

In mental health, Medicaid rates are reduced, and there's a 7.5% reduction in nonmedicaid rates.

In developmental disabilities the Governor proposes the closure of Yakima Valley School and also proposes to close all three heated swimming pools in the RHCs. Other DD services are maintained, but there are no new residential slots for nonwaiver clients.

The housing trust fund is cut by 50%, and chemical dependency programs take a significant cut, but the Governor does recommend increased funding for homelessness services and food banks.

Remember: These are just my notes from a briefing. Now we're diving into the budget detail as fast as we can. I'll post more when I know more. -- Dennis

1 comment:

ConstituentV said...

GA-U and GA-X are vital because Social Security Disability and Supplemental Security Income have been neglected so thoroughly that it takes up to 3 years to receive a hearing in the State of Washington.

Without GA, people will die, commit survival crimes and wind up in jail (where the taxpayers will pay a whole lot more for their upkeep), lose access to mental health medication, and those not already on the street will lose the rooms or apartments they rent (even if partly subsidized).

This budget item harks back to the times when Francis Galton's eugenics were the prevailing mode, when public assistance and mental hospitalization were thought of as hurtful to the species.

It is interesting to note that Galton himself suffered a crippling "nervous breakdown" while he was at Cambridge, and it affected him so that he could not pursue honors there. Someone like that might end up requiring GA in these times.

If this part of the budget is passed, it will be a detriment not only to the dispossessed, but also to those who enact the legislation. Any signatory must be aware that this is a clear moral evil, brazenly so. It is despicable.