Thursday Jolt: Gregoire Budget Edition

By Afternoon Jolt October 27, 2011

Today's Loser: Washington State.

Among the $812 million in cuts to social service and health programs and the $545 million to education that Gov. Chris Gregoire proposed today:

Eliminate the Disability Lifeline medical program, $110.0 million

Ends medical services to 21,000 clients enrolled in the Disability Lifeline and ADATSA (Alcoholism and Drug Abuse Treatment Support Act) programs.

Eliminate Basic Health Plan, $48.1 million

Terminates program that delivers subsidized health care to 35,000 low-income individuals, effective Jan. 1, 2012.

Modify critical access hospital payment methodology, $27.2 million

Changes the payment methodology for critical access hospitals to the same methodology used for other hospitals, effective July 1, 2012. Affects 41 critical access hospitals, which are facilities in under-served rural communities.

Reduce maternity support services by 50 percent, $9.6 million

Reduce program that provides services to 55,000 pregnant women who are at risk of unhealthy birth outcomes. Medicaid-optional program. Maintains the minimum level required by the federal government.

Eliminate medical interpreter services, $4.8 million

Discontinues the state subsidy that covers the cost of interpreter services offered by medical providers to communicate with Medicaid clients whose primary language is not English. Medicaid-optional program.

Eliminate Blue Ribbon Commission Act public health funds, $9.8 million

Terminates state support to local public health departments to increase vaccinations and reduce obesity and chronic and communicable diseases. Half of these funds were cut in the 2009–11 budget.

Reducing state levy equalization money to poorer school districts by 50 percent, $150 million

Reduce equalization funds to all eligible districts. Some districts could make up for some or all of the reduction by seeking to increase their local voter-approved levies; others will not be able to.

Increase class sizes in grades 4-12, $137 million

Boosts class size ratios of students to teacher as follows: grades 4–6: from 27 to 29; grades 7–8: from 28.5 to 30.5; and grades 9–12: from 28.7 to 30.7. Will result in fewer teachers, thus increasing class sizes.

Reduce teacher bonuses for 5,800 teachers, $8.4 million

Reduce annual bonuses by $1000 for 5,800 teachers certified by the National Board, including additional bonuses for Board-certified teachers working in challenging schools.

Reduce high school staffing, $5 million

Shrinks staffing formula for high schools serving fewer than 300 full-time students from minimum of nine full-time teachers to a minimum of eight.

Reduce General Fund-State support to the six public colleges and universities, and 34 community and technical colleges in the second year of the biennium by 15 percent, $166 million.

Suspend State Work Study program, $8 million

Cuts aid to 7,600 students at public and private colleges and universities beginning fall term 2012

Increase client-to-social worker ratio, $8.2 million

Changes the average ratio of children to social worker. Affects only those social workers, associated supervisors and support staff employed in child welfare. Does not reduce the number of social workers in Child Protective Services.

Eliminate child welfare programs, $7.3 million

Terminates specialized child welfare programs such as receiving care centers, continuum of care, sex abuse recognition training, children’s advocacy centers, educational coordinators, foster care assessment, adoption support recruitment and street youth. Approximately 5,700 children receive these services annually.

Reduce foster care length-of-stay, $876,000

Shortens the length of stay for 200 hard-to-place foster children now in care.

Eliminate State Family Assistance program

Stops cash assistance to 1,200 families who do not meet TANF eligibility criteria due lack of documentation of citizenship. The average monthly payment is $240.

Close state hospital wards for dementia and  traumatic brain injury clients, $5.1 million 

Shuts down two wards at Western State Hospital and places 52 patients in long-term care community settings.

Eliminate family reconciliation services, $4.7 million

Stops intake and referral services aimed at keeping families intact and promoting positive behaviors for about 525 families who seek assistance each year.

Eliminate funding to county fairs, $3 million 

Terminates funding to county fairs to pay for premiums (prize money). Achieves savings by reducing state funding transferred into the Fair Fund. Preserves funding for community and youth fairs.
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