1. After giving her state of the state speech yesterday, Gov. Chris Gregoire presented her budget to the Senate Ways & Means Committee.
Here's the breakdown: Facing a $2.6 billion deficit, the governor is proposing—about $780 million in new money (either federal money or new taxes), about $1 billion in cuts; and about $850 million total from rainy day fund money, transfers from other accounts, and surplus money from the last biennium.
She listed $779 million worth in program buybacks to the all-cuts budget she announced in December, including restoring the Basic Health Plan, college financial aid, and General Assistance for the Unemployable (with new guidelines limiting the payments).
I've listed all the "buybacks" below the jump.
There are still nearly $1 billion in cuts—nearly half to human services.
Gov. Gregoire did not announce any new taxes (although she said she is prepared to do so). For now she's penciling in at least $500 million in federal money and about $100 million in closing tax loopholes, like getting rid of an exemption on out-of-state finance companies that do business in Washington state. (There are plenty more tax exemptions she could consider, and Democrats say they want her to.)
Critics on both sides—the Republicans and a liberal coalition of Democratic interest groups —agree the federal money does not offer a long term solution. But The GOP would make more cuts while the liberals want new taxes.
One state lawmaker, Olympia-area Rep. Brendan Williams (D-22), noted the short-lived bipartisan agreement on his Facebook page:
Along with the nearly $1 billion in human service cuts listed in the budget, Gregoire did announce a number of cuts yesterday to streamline government, including: Closing five correctional facilities ($65 million over four years); shutting down two residential facilities and reducing the size of three juvenile facilities ($9 million); eliminating 73 boards and commissions ($3 million), efficiency reforms at the natural resources department ($1.7 million), and merging small departments ($400,000)
Keep in mind, a new revenue forecast is due in February.
2. While Gov. Gregoire suggested getting rid of tax breaks yesterday—"Closing loopholes that have either outlived their usefulness or are no longer equitable in today’s tough economy"—she also proposed one.
Gregoire wants to create a new employee tax credit for small businesses that hire a new full-time position.
3. Erica and Josh interview new Seattle City Attorney Pete Holmes at Town Hall's new Public House Bar at 8:45 this Thursday night. It's free.
One question: Will City Attorney Holmes publish his legal opinions (ie, his advice to city council)—something former City Attorney Tom Carr did not do.
Our interview with Holmes follows the night's main event—a talk on drug reform starring writer Gabor Mate with an intro by former SPD Chief Norm Stamper. That event, which begins at 7:30, costs $5.
4. Everett-area Rep. Hans Dunshee (D-44 ) wants to issue $861 million in bonds to finance a green job programs—retrofitting schools to make them energy efficient. The idea would have to be approved by a public vote. The bill is getting a public hearing today in the House Capital Budget Commitee, which Rep. Dunshee chairs.
Also on the House docket today—Seattle-area Rep. Mary Lou Dickerson's (D-36) bill to legalize marijuana.
Restorations to the Governor's 2010 Budget
Dollars in Millions
K-12 Levy Equalization Increases 165.012
Basic Health Plan 160.575
Higher Education State Need Grant 146.435
Redesigned General Assistance - Unemployable Program 84.472
K-12 All-day Kindergarten, Gifted Program and Reading Corps 42.011
Working Connections Child Care Option 39.500
Maternity Support Services 28.050
Optional Medicaid Services 21.091
Developmental Disabilities/Long Term Care − Housekeeping and Offsite Laundry Services 18.339
Long Term Care/Developmental Disabilities − Homecare Agency Provider Services 14.095
Early Childhood Education Program (ECEAP) for 3-Year-Olds 10.500
Senior Citizens Services Act 6.967
Adult Hospice Care 6.161
Outpatient Drug Treatment and Detox Services 5.393
HIV/AIDS Client Services and AIDSNET Grants 4.859
Foster Care Rates 4.144
Outpatient Community Mental Health Services 4.137
Children's Apple Health Insurance 4.112
Mental Health - Inpatient Hospital 2.889
Developmental Disabilities Individual and Family Services 2.000
Middle School Career and Technical Education program 1.943
Volunteer Chore Services 1.877
Crime Victims Compensation Program 1.545
Jail Services Funding for Mentally Ill Offenders 1.145
Children's Public Health Nurses 0.712
Aging Family Caregiver Support and Respite Care 0.628
Regional Law Enforcement Training 0.280
Grand Total 778.9