Cuts make up 90 percent of budget solution
State House and Senate budget negotiators have released the details of their plan to address a $5 billion shortfall in the 2011-13 biennium. Notably, the agreement fails to incorporate any revenue increases. As a result the shortfall is addressed almost exclusively via enormous cuts to Washington’s vital public health, education, and safety infrastructure.
About 90 percent($4.5 billion) of the budget shortfall is addressed through cuts to core public structures such as health care, services for seniors, our K-12 and higher education system and a multitude of supports for lower income families.
Cuts to public services include (but are not limited to):
- Reductions to the Basic Health Plan for low-income, working adults ($129 million);
- Elimination of cash assistance for people who cannot work due to a disability, but do not qualify for federal SSI. These individuals will instead be referred for a housing and essential needs benefit ($179 million);
- Salary reductions for K-12 employees- 1.9 percent for teachers and other staff, 3 percent for administrative positions ($179 million);
- Reductions to colleges and universities; increased tuition at four-year institutions expected to range from 11-16 percent ($618 million in cuts);
- Hours of care for seniors and people with developmental disabilities is reduced by 10 percent($97 million).
The remaining 10 percent of the budget solution ($459 million) consists of fund transfers.
Since the recession began, lawmakers have made approximately $5.5 billion in cuts. In the next 24 hours they plan to make an additional $4.5 billion in reductions which will impact children, seniors, students, and people with disabilities.
An all-cuts budget was not the only approach that could have been taken. There were numerous bills introduced this session to address the budget shortfall through closing specific tax breaks to fund essential services. Yet the agreed-upon budget is an imbalanced approach that jeopardizes our state’s ability to recover from this economic recession.
Click here or on the chart below to read our detailed budget comparison.