Governor Gregoire announced this morning she is calling a special session to start November 28 to address the state’s $1 billion plus budget deficit.
Here are my notes from her press conference:
- Need budget to be done in one special session – she won’t call another.
- The total budget reductions needed are in the range of $2 billion to provide for a minimal reserve fund.
- The goal of the budget is long-term sustainability.
- By addressing the budget deficit in the special session, lawmakers can focus the 2012 regular session on job creation.
- The 10% proposed agency reductions due to today will help to guide the Governor’s budget plan she hopes to release the week of October 24.
- Lawmakers can no longer use a “Pac Man” approach to the budget. Instead entire programs need to be eliminated versus merely suspended or reduced.
- Talks of a tax package are “premature” though nothing is being taken off the table.
- Tax loopholes are not a panacea as often times a job will be lost by closing them.
- Discretionary budget cutting authority for the governor that can pass constitutional muster should be pursued.
The Governor was also asked about the Tacoma teacher strike and whether she agrees with the 2006 Attorney General Opinion that teacher strikes are illegal. She said the issue was “unresolved” and that she didn’t support changing the law to provide for automatic fines or penalties saying instead that was the role of the Courts to determine.
As a contrast, here is the “Taylor Act” in New York which not only makes it crystal clear teacher strikes are illegal but also imposes automatic fines and penalties for violation.
[Reprinted from the Washington Policy Center blog.]