Here’s the latest on Day 210 of the state Capital-Construction Budget held hostage
Nearly 500 state agency and higher education jobs have or will be cut because of the outgoing Senate majority’s foot dragging on a 2017-2019 Capital Construction Budget.
The House passed the measure, EHB 1075, earlier this year 92-1. But the Senate majority refused to act, holding billions in construction projects and hundreds of jobs hostage over an unrelated water rights bill.
The dynamic changes in the Senate soon when newly elected Sen. Manka Dhingra of the 45th District gives the Democrats a one-vote majority.
Gov. Jay Inlsee told the Seattle Times last week he’s still interested in calling back lawmakers in early December to pass a capital-construction budget.” But that may be unlikely because, the Times reported, “the capital-construction budget itself could pass with a simple majority. But the accompanying bonding bill needs a 60-percent vote — meaning Democratic senators would still need five GOP votes to pass it.”
So the impasse may go on all the way through the end of the 60-day session that begins in January.
Today (Nov. 17), the House Capital Budget Committee learned the harsh impact the impasse has had.
Melissa Palmer of the Legislature’s Office of Program Research laid out the facts.
Agencies have identified 488 positions that are projected to be eliminated or reduced between August 2017 to March 2018. These include permanent, non-permanent and project positions eliminated or reduced. Some positions include vacancies.
Here is that list. You can also find it at: https://app.leg.wa.gov/CMD/Handler.ashx?MethodName=getdocumentcontent&documentId=N5s-yR6JOWk&att=false
Palmer did not detail which specific positions (though we have told you previously of some including in Parks. We also don’t know how many are WFSE/AFSCME-represented positions.
• Fish and Wildlife: 15 positions already cut with 73 more from December to March.
• The Evergreen State College: already 1 position cut, 3 have reduced hours; in January, another 7 positions would be cut with one’s hours reduced.
• State Parks: 26 positions already cut (7 vacant); 25 more would be cut after January.
• Department of Enterprise Services: 22 positions cut in October (4 vacant).
• DSHS: 1 position cut in October.
• Washington State Historical Society: 1 position with reduced hours, with 1 position cut in February.
• Department of Natural Resources: 30 positions cut this month; 25 more cut by March.
• University of Washington: 122 positions cut over six months.
• Bates Technical College: 5 positions cut.
• Department of Corrections: 28 positions would be cut in January.
• Office of the Superintendent of Public Instruction: 13 positions would be cut in January.
• Clark College: 20 positions and 4 reduced hours in January.
• Washington State University: 65 positions cut over three months.
The impact on projects is harsh too. According to Palmer:
• Agencies have not started new capital projects or awarded grants or loans. Selected examples include:
• 8 school districts school construction projects are delayed.
• 25 school districts (38 projects) are moving forward with local funds
• 61 drinking water project contracts suspended
• State Hospitals' forensic capacity projects delayed.
• Western State Hospital System Improvement Agreement projects delayed.
• In the recent capital budget requests, some agencies have increased the estimated costs for completing projects.
• Unanticipated repairs and projects. Examples include:
• Department of Corrections: Emergency Repair requests
• Department of Social and Health Services: Fircrest laundry fire and CMS citations at Western State Hospital
• Timing for pairing capital budget funding awards and other funding sources. Examples include:
• Commerce Matchmakers Weatherization funding
• Housing Trust Fund and Low-Income Housing Tax Credits
• Agencies will begin developing the 2019-21 biennial budget requests this coming summer, in some cases with less information