Afternoon Jolt

Today's loser: City budget director Beth Goldberg, who has been uninvited from sitting at the council budget committee table for the remainder of the council's budget deliberations, which wrap up just before Thanksgiving. 

As we've reported, Goldberg has been involved in several testy discussions with new council budget chairman Tim Burgess, who is considering a run against Goldberg's boss, Mayor Mike McGinn, next year.

"She was informed last week that as we move into the final phase of the budget process that her part was over." – City Council budget chair Tim Burgess.

Most recently, Burgess derided Goldberg's claim that the city council had rejected funding for a new crime analyst position at the police department as "factually not true," during a discussion in which Burgess, a former SPD cop, also questioned the value of the mayor's proposal to install whiz-bang, camera-equipped gunshot locators in 52 locations around the city. 

Burgess says the decision to remove Goldberg from the official council discussion table was made before the recent public disputes between the council and the budget office, but acknowledges that Goldberg was just told about the decision last week. 

"She was informed, I believe, last week that as we move into our final phase [of the budget process] that her part was over," Burgess says. 

"I don't think it was a big deal at all," Burgess says. "Every budget chair does it differently." However, Burgess acknowledged there was no precedent he could remember for this arrangement.

Goldberg, who has not returned a call for comment, watched the budget deliberations from the council chambers, along with the rest of the public. 

Today's second loser: Democratic gubernatorial candidate Jay Inslee. 

As Seattle Times reporter Brian Rosenthal reported today, Inslee's proposal to save money by shifting state employees to a preventive health care plan similar to the one adopted in King County likely wouldn't save as much money as predicted.

Inslee has said the plan, which would lower costs through wellness programs, greater use of generics, and other preventive strategies, would save between $300 million and $455 million a year; however, it turns out that King County has only saved a third of what Inslee has been claiming.

That puts Inslee's plan to fund education in jeopardy. He might have to consider the levy swap, a plan he has rejected that would substitute state education taxes for local taxes, increasing Olympia's commitment by as much as $1 billion a year. 

That's also bad news for the county, which has touted its "Healthy Incentives" program as a major cost-saving measure.

If the new numbers are right, and the county's numbers are off by two-thirds, the county will have to stop making grandiose claims about the success of the program. 

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