OLYMPIA, Wash. -- To fill a $2 billion budget shortfall, Gov. Chris Gregoire is proposing eliminating the state's health care program for the poor, trimming another 15 percent from higher education and reducing levy equalization for poor school districts by 50 percent.
"Coming on top of ten billion dollars in cuts, these are truly devastating,” said Gregoire. "We are forced to give Washingtonians less than what they need."
The proposed budget cuts, announced Thursday in Olympia, also include reducing the length of supervision for all convicts and ending alcohol and drug abuse treatment programs.
In a statement that echoed protests across the nation and in the Pacific Northwest over the past month, Gregoire blamed “reckless behavior on Wall Street that set off a financial panic.
Lawmakers are due in Olympia in late November for another round of budget cuts totaling about $2 billion. Earlier this year, the Legislature cut about $4.6 billion of state spending.
Gregoire says she has not considered any new taxes, yet.
Gregoire says her options are limited, but will welcome feedback from the public before she releases her final supplemental budget proposal before November's special session.