SEATTLE -- Attorney General Rob McKenna on Tuesday said private companies should be able to bid to provide more government services, the number of state workers should be reduced and employees should pay more for health insurance premiums.
The Republican gubernatorial candidate released updated plans for the state at a morning campaign event in Bellevue. McKenna said the state workforce could be reduced by up to 10 percent in the next several years and state workers should pay 25 percent of their insurance premiums, as Democratic Gov. Chris Gregoire has already suggested. State workers now pay 15 percent.
McKenna also reiterated calls to spend more on education and said tax laws should be changed to ensure that out-of-state companies that do business in Washington state pay "their fair share."
During a 45-minute speech, McKenna reiterated calls to spend more on education and said tax laws should be changed to ensure out-of-state companies that do business in Washington pay "their fair share." McKenna also said the number of state regulations must be reduced and the compensation system for state workers should change from a "seniority-driven" model to one that considers performance and accountability. He wants to open up the state workers' compensation insurance system, which covers employees with job-related injuries, to private competition. Last year state voters overwhelmingly rejected an initiative that would have done that.
McKenna also wants to change state law so school boards in districts with 10 percent or more failing schools could be replaced by a board appointed by the governor or superintendent of public instruction. McKenna addressed the $2 billion operating budget the state currently faces. He said much of that problem can be dealt with through efficiencies.
"The problem isn't the revenue, it's the spending," he said.
Jaime Smith, spokeswoman for McKenna's Democratic opponent, Rep. Jay Inslee, said there was nothing new in McKenna's latest proposals.
"The people of Washington have heard this rhetoric for years," Smith said. "I'm glad McKenna and Jay agree on some things, such as the need to improve our education system, but McKenna continues to make empty promises that sound great but come without any viable ideas to pay for them."