This Washington

Rejoinder of the Day: Gov. Gregoire

By Josh Feit December 15, 2011

Erica and I just finished a 40-minute sit-down interview with Gov. Chris Gregoire. We talked about the budget (oy vey), gay marriage, education reform, her legacy, Jay Inslee's chances, President Obama, her recent email conversation with her friend Kathleen Sebelius about Sebelius' Plan B decision, and, as promised (to a pal who I had whiskeys with last night), "why she was a Republican."

It was a lively conversation. And I'll post a full account tomorrow.

Gregoire spent the last five minutes of the interview busting the state Republicans' "Reform before revenue" mantra. She took the Republican reform recommendations one by one and said "How much are you gonna book against the $2 billion shortfall? ... I'll tell you what you're gonna book: Nothing."

Her most exasperated answer came when I reminded her about one of the GOP's big reform recommendations: Making state employees cover as much of their health care costs as their counterparts in the private sector.
"I'm happy to [make workers pay as much for health care as they would] in the private sector when they'll pay state workers what they would earn in the private sector."

She's got a point: According to this 2010 study, state workers typically earn 11 percent less than private sector workers in comparable jobs.
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