In this edition, you'll find news stories and editorials about Gov. Gregoire's revised budget and efforts to balance painful cuts with new revenue. You'll also find a story about possible changes to childhood vaccine availability.
Saying that many of the cuts she proposed last month are
“unwise and unjust,” Gov. Chris Gregoire proposed a combination of
program cuts, tax increases and federal aid to close the state’s
projected $2.6 billion budget shortfall.“We cannot just cut or just tax
our way out of this immediate budget shortfall,” she said. “We must
have a responsible, balanced approach of painful cuts and new revenue.”
We need state workers who are willing to make sacrifices that
are in line with what's happening in the private sector. We need
Republicans to give the finger-pointing a rest. We need Democrats to
admit they don't have all the answers. We need citizens to understand
government can't solve every problem.
We need leadership, not politics.
What words will be uttered at the end of this short 60-day session depend on how well the two parties cooperate in bringing into balance a budget that's $2.6 billion out of kilter. It won't be easy, and from the rumblings we hear following the governor's speech, it won't be pretty either. At least for now, leaders in both political parties pledge to work together.
Democrats in Olympia plan to cut programs, raise taxes and
await federal help to close the state's $2.6 billion budget deficit. If
they raise taxes, they will lose seats in November, but probably not
enough to give up their majorities.
In one of the toughest budget seasons in recent years,
Washington State Gov. Christine Gregoire offered some good early
learning news, restoring funding for 1,500 public preschool slots and
child care subsidies for working poor families in her new budget.
Lawmakers gathered in Olympia for the 2010 legislative session
can either set our state up for long-term prosperity or put off the
tough budget decisions until 2011 when it will be even more difficult
to solve our financial problems.
Gov. Chris Gregoire proposed Tuesday what she called a
"responsible, balanced approach of painful cuts and new revenue" to
close the state's $2.6 billion budget shortfall. But Gregoire's latest
budget blueprint — which relies heavily on hoped-for federal money and
one-time fund transfers — did little to answer long-term questions
about the sustainability of current spending levels.
On Day One of the 2010 State Legislature, petitions from more
than 20,000 Washingtonians asked Gov. Chris Gregoire and state leaders
to focus on raising revenue rather than cutting programs and services
that affect the state's quality of life, from health care to education.
For 15 years Washington had one of the simplest child
immunization systems in the nation. Nearly every pediatrician and
family doctor offered the shots because the state took care of
supplying the vaccines. Despite easy access, Washington has had one of
the worst vaccination rates in the country. Now, the state subsidy is
ending, due to budget shortfalls, and doctors and insurers are
wrangling over a new system.