King County Executive Dow Constantine today expressed grave concern over the Republican-led budget proposal adopted in the early hours of this morning in the state Senate.
Constantine condemns State Senate meltdown
Budget, policy reversals have devastating impact on people of King County
King County Executive Dow Constantine today expressed grave concern over the Republican-led budget proposal adopted in the early hours of this morning in the state Senate:
"Here in King County we have spent the past two years enacting methodical, thoughtful reform of local government across party lines. What happened this morning in the state Senate is the opposite of government reform. It is a political stunt that has already wasted millions of taxpayer dollars.
"The Republican-led Senate vote in the wee hours of the morning robbed residents of an opportunity to see, much less comment on, a state budget that would have devastating impacts upon them. This proposed budget would:
- Create more homeless and hungry families by eliminating food support for 12,000 families per month, cutting $202 million in Temporary Assistance for Needy Families, and reducing the time they can get benefits;
- Take away child care assistance from as many as 4,000 working, single mothers and their children, senselessly denying moms the opportunity to work and support their families;
- Eliminate treatment programs for 15,000 chemically-dependent residents, putting more addicts on the streets and, at great cost, putting more people in local jails who should be getting treatment;
- Close the door on the future for up to 5,500 students in higher education and community and technical colleges through $30 million in cuts to tuition waivers and other support;
- Slash public health grants by half, including cuts to defenses against epidemics and a very pointed attack on family-planning programs; and
- Divert funds from local infrastructure, leading to further deterioration of local roads and utility systems and higher rates for publicly-owned utilities, such as sewer and water systems.
"The vote to further slash access to colleges like the UW and WSU is an attack on our economic recovery and the prospects of the next generation.
"The multiple votes against family planning and reproductive parity are in direct opposition to the values and interests of the vast majority of the people of King County.
"The Senate Republican budget uses gimmicks of its own and is not sustainable as has been portrayed. A companion bill essential to the budget, SB 6378, would suspend the contributions needed to cover shortfalls in several State pension systems for the next year, and simply shift these costs into the future.
"The political stunt in the Senate also killed HB 2748, a bill King County put forward to enable much-needed efficiencies. This measure would have saved $1 million a year in the unnecessary overhead costs of maintaining separate local Flood and Ferry Districts, and redirected those funds into greater flood protection and water transit service for the people and businesses of King County. Again, reform derailed by political tricks."