Friday, January 9, 2009

"Major Heartburn" List

As we've been wading through the Governor's budget proposal we've been putting together a list of the specific cuts and closures that do the most harm to our members and the public. With the understanding that this is very preliminary, this is what we have so far:

1. Elimination of negotiated collective bargaining agreement (WFSE GG contract = $86.5 mil GF-S; WFSE HE contract = $10.7 mil GF-S).

2. Closure of Yakima Valley School/DSHS DD (cuts 139.5 FTEs, displaces 100 extremely fragile people, and yet only saves $1.5 mil GF-S). YVS is a skilled nursing facility. 80% of clients are medically fragile, 20% are high risk. Also lost would be 3,517 days of respite care provided to 369 individuals in 2008.

3. Closure of Naselle Youth Camp/DSHS JRA (cuts 85.5 FTEs, $12.86 mil GF-S).

4. Cuts to Dept. of Corrections (est. reduction of 200-300 FTEs in community corrections; the department is proposing closing Pine Lodge Correction Center in Medical Lake in respose).

5. Cuts to Dept. of Fish & Wildlife (cuts 156.6 FTEs, $19.27 mil GF-S) including the proposed closure of seven hatcheries.

6. Elimination of GA-U program/DSHS ESA (cuts 56.8 FTEs, $156.2 mil GF-S).

7. Closure of 13 state parks (cuts 42.0 FTEs, $3.26 mil GF-S) and seasonal park closures.

8. Cuts to DSHS/Special Commitment Center (reduce number of residential rehab counselors – cuts 32 FTEs, $5.03 mil GF-S).

9. Cuts in Higher Education (scope of cuts unclear).

10. We're also worried about DSHS Mental Health & DSHS Economic Services (scope of cuts unclear) and we're trying to get a better understanding of what is proposed in those two divisions.

Have we missed anything? Do you have suggestions or inside information on the major cuts we've identified so far? Are you willing to help with our lobbying effort in support of these critical services? Then, by all means, please let us know. -- Dennis

UPDATE: Immediately after posting this, I thought of two glaring omissions:

11. Cuts in health care. The Governor's budget proposes cutting the Basic Health Plan by 42% ($252 mil GF-S) and reducing the number of kids who will receive subsidized coverage ($6.1 mil GF-S). Both of these short-sighted cuts will increase the number of people who are uninsured, which will then result in a spike in health care costs and diminished services for everyone.

12. Reduces contributions to the pension system by more than $68 mil GF-S -- a 46.8% cut. Both the taxpayers and state workers are going to be paying a lot more down the road if this cut is enacted.

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