OLYMPIA, Wash. – Wednesday morning, Governor Chris Gregoire said she had heard the voters loud and clear. She clearly wasn't very happy with the message, but she insisted she had heard it, and insisted that the voters had helped shape a budget whose basic morality she questions and which she says she hates.
"This represents shared sacrifice" said Gregoire, "which is what we'll need to make it through these tough times."
Trying to close a $4.6 billion gap in the 2011-2013 budget, Gregoire proposed major cuts to education, social and health services and the Department of Corrections.
Ferry service would be cut while fares would likely increase. The state parks department will be weaned off general fund money from the state and will have to find a way to support itself. That, likely, means user fees.
State colleges and community colleges will be allowed to raise tuition to balance out cuts. Efforts to cut class sizes in K-12 will be put on hold and so will teacher pay raises.
Also included in the plan is cancellation of the 2012 presidential primary.
All of this will be on the table and will be the main order of business when the Legislature convenes next month. Gregoire noted the quick bipartisan action in the recent one-day special session and said she hoped that would continue.
"This is just a bunch of numbers. But behind every number there is a face, there is a person" said Gregoire. "This will affect every community in the State of Washington."