The Washington Federation of State Employees has offered some support for the pending bipartisan budget agreement that was announced Wednesday in the Senate.
Federation lobbyist Matt Zuvich told the Senate Ways and Means Committee late in the afternoon that the union appreciated parts of the so-called "early action" agreement to reduce $394 million of the state’s remaining deficit of $600 million through June 30.
Zuvich mentioned that Engrossed Substitute House Bill 1086, the supplemental budget, retains medical interpreter services for immigrants that the House-approved version did not. (Saving interpreters saves unionized jobs.)
He also acknowledged what he called tough times and applauded the Senate for slowing down the closure of the Frances Haddon Morgan rehabilitation center for the severely disabled in Bremerton, for trying to preserve the Basic Health Plan for low-income workers ("that took courage," he said), and for cutting into the ranks of middle management at the Department of Social and Health Services by reducing funds for Washington Management Services employees.
The federation followed this morning with this email blast to members that itemized elements of the budget and said:
It's not perfect – no budget in these times can be. But compared to the proposal from the governor and the supplemental budget passed by the House, the Senate plan shows a lot of heart.
A vote on the bill is planned at 1:30 this afternoon [Feb. 3]in Senate Ways and Means Committee, which meets in Hearing Room 4 of the Cherberg Building. The vote is scheduled after after the committee holds a series of hearings, including one on Democratic Sen. Rodney Tom's repeat proposal ,SB 5523,
to eliminate the state’s Department of Printing by July 1 and sell off its equipment. [Unions have opposed Tom's proposal in past years so a different tone might be heard there.]
Republican Sen. Joseph Zarelli of Ridgefield negotiated the budget-bill agreement with Democratic Ways and Means chairman Ed Murray of Seattle. Zarelli said yesterday there will be Republican votes for it, but stopped short of saying he would deliver a majority in his caucus when the measure goes to the Senate floor for a vote as soon as Friday. It would then need to go back to the House for concurrence.
For background,here is a big-picture summary
of Murray and Zarelli's amended version of Engrossed Substitute House Bill 1086.
to agency by agency details.Here is the budget bill
in the version it was heard yesterday. Andhere is our story
about the measure from this morning's paper.
Amendments tothe proposed Senate amendment
heard yesterday are likely in committee today, but none has been posted online yethere.