Governor Wants Your Thoughts on Budget, State Government

This election isn’t even certified and Washington Gov. Chris Gregoire is acting like she’s already won a second term.

But seriously, the governor is asking for residents’ thoughts on the budget. Read on to see how you can take part.

From the governor’s press release:

Gov. Gregoire seeks public input on budget priorities
Gregoire adds new public input feature on website –

OLYMPIA – Gov. Chris Gregoire today is urging Washingtonians to visit her website and offer suggestions as she works to fill a multi-billion dollar budget shortfall.

“Just like Washington families, state government is facing serious economic challenges,” Gregoire said. “Unfortunately, we don’t have the money to fund all of the many programs and projects we have supported in the past. We’re all going to have to sacrifice, but it’s also important to preserve core government services and to take full advantage of the strengths of our community organizations and the private sector.”

All Washingtonians are encouraged to visit Gregoire’s homepage at and submit their own cost-saving strategies. The governor is also looking for suggestions to reform state government and to provide services more efficiently and cost-effectively. In addition, the governor wants to know what government functions and programs might be better handled in the private sector or the nonprofit arena.

“If you know of an effective strategy to significantly trim costs, I want to hear from you,” Gregoire said. “It is becoming clear that we will need to cut spending and rethink the way we provide services to responsibly balance the next budget.”

Gregoire has already taken significant steps to cut the projected $3.2 billion dollar deficit nearly in half, including:
Placing a freeze on hiring, out-of-state travel, personal service contracts and equipment purchases.
Across-the-board cuts in state agencies, exempting certain programs in education, public safety and the protection of vulnerable individuals.
Suspending the Family Leave program.

The governor plans to unveil the 2009-2011 budget next month. For more information, visit Gregoire’s homepage at:

10 thoughts on “Governor Wants Your Thoughts on Budget, State Government

  1. Dear Governor Gregoire,
    I’ve been a adjunct college and university lecturer since 1981. From 1991-2007, I taught at the UW Business School. I now teach one class a quarter at UW-Bothell.

    Higher education is full of fat that should be cut. Please start with the outrageous salaries of the UW football program, especially the obscenely large salaries paid to coaches and the athletic director.

    Next, cut UW President Mark Emmert’s salary. For some reason, he makes more money than any other president of any public college or university IN THE COUNTRY! How can he be worth what the state pays him? Why should I scrape by on $6,000 a class per quarter when he gets more than many corporate CEOS?

    Next, cut the salaries of some of the hugely overpaid Business School tenured faculty. It is appalling how much they get paid for doing so little work, especially since they refuse to teach undergraduates That’s why I had a job there for so many years. Many of them make upwards of $200,000, and still whine that their salaries are falling behind peer institutions. The country is full of desperate Ph.Ds in business who would be glad to take their jobs for a lot less pay. Let the tenured faculty go out in the corporate world and see how well they do.

    The tenured faculty deign to touch MBAs or Ph.D students only. They all compete to teach in the Executive MBA program, which is awash in money.

    At the least, make them teach more classes. They are not earning their pay. The Business School dean and his deanlets are also overpaid, relative to their counterparts in Arts and Sciences. AT least A & S teaches something important.

    The Business School cares only about turning out students who will make the largest possible salaries, so they can become generous alums and give back to the Business School, so the administrators and faculty can earn higher pay, etc. The school has no commitment to ethics, sustainable business practices or corporate environmental consciousness. Most leading business schools are moving quickly to cover those areas and incorporating ethics into most areas of study.

    I taught business ethics at the UW Business School for 16 years. All the students hear in every other class is “make the maximum profit you can without getting caught.”

    I think all the high-up administrators at the UW make too much money. They are not worth their salaries. The salary structure is an inverse pyramid. Those of us who do the hard work of actually teaching undergrads, especially freshmen and sophomores, get paid peanuts. The top deans, VPs and Chancellors go to a lot of meetings but don’t seem to produce anything valuable.

    Instead of cutting back on services for students, faculty pay for Arts and Sciences faculty, or scholarships, look closely at how much money the administrators suck up. And please don’t raise tuition! The students are graduating with enormous debts the size of house mortgages. Cut the fast-growing cost of higher education instead.

    Was it really necessary for the UW to buy the old Safeco building?
    Does Mark Emmert have to have a corner office on the top floor so he can pretend he’s a CEO of a for-profit company? I say the UW should sell the Safeco building and send Emmert and his minions back to Gerberding Hall.

    I imagine WSU has as much waste and fat in its budget as well. Not having taught there, I can’t comment specifically.

    For God’s sake, don’t give the athletic program anymore money to expand Husky Stadium AGAIN, or build any more buildings.

    In other areas: raise the gas taxes to give DOT more money to fix our roads. Tax liquor at a higher rate. KING TV reporters tonight said the higher the liquor taxes, the fewer alcohol-related deaths there are.

    And here’s my most fervent hope, which involves raising taxes, which you pledged not to do. Given our wretched economy, that was a foolish promise. Institute an income tax on corporations and rich folks -anybody who makes more than $100,000 a year. That would include my household (my husband has a real job) but we would not mind paying more taxes to support the state. At least states don’t invade countries like Iraq for no reason.

    Washington has one of the most regressive tax structures in the country. It relies much too heavily on regressive sources of revenue – gambling, sales tax, the universally hated B & O tax (on gross revenues, not profits) sin taxes on booze and tobacco. The sales tax is especially harsh on low-income people. And the idea of the state relying on gambling to raise money is really offensive and immoral.

    I’d like to see the sales tax, legalized gambling and the B & O tax some of those taxes replaced with a straight-forward progressive income tax. I was in law practice in the early 80s and hated the B & O. What is worse than paying taxes on your gross revenues when you haven’t even made a profit? What a nasty, anti-small business tax.

    Some people will say that more taxes will drive away big corporations.
    I come from Minnesota, which has an income tax AND a sales tax. Some of the most important corporations in the country started in Minnesota and have never left: 3M, Honeywell, Target (formerly Dayton-Hudson), Medtronic, CitiBank, and many others.

    Thanks for reading my suggestions, Governor. The crashing economy is making your job much harder, but I know you will do as good a job as you can under very difficult circumstances.

    Susan Helf, J.D.

  2. Dear Governor Gregoire…

    Please don’t change success and ‘fix’ what isn’t broke. The University of Washington has worked hard for its world wide reputation in the world of higher education.

    And, as you already know, all Ph.D’s are not created equal.

    “…The University of Washington again has been ranked first among primary care medical schools in the country, according to annual rankings of graduate and professional programs provided by U.S.News & World Report. The School of Nursing’s master’s program also was ranked first nationally.

    The School of Medicine was ranked as the 6th top research school. It ranked first among public medical schools and second among all medical schools in research funding from the National Institutes of Health in fiscal year 2006.

    Among programs newly ranked in 2007, academic specialties in the medical school that were ranked highly include: Family medicine (first for 16th year in a row), rural medicine (first for 16th year in a row), AIDS (4), women’s health (8), internal medicine (6), geriatrics (7), drug/alcohol abuse (10) and pediatrics (8). The UW is the only medical school in the nation ranked in the top 10 for all eight specialties included in the rankings.

    Nursing specialties in adult medical-surgical (2) community/public health (1), psychiatric/mental health (1), nurse practitioner-adult (3), nurse practitioner- family (1), nurse practitioner gerontological/geriatric (10) and nurse practitioner-pediatric (4) were highly ranked. Nursing-midwifery was ranked eighth.

    The UW College of Engineering’s biomedical/bioengineering specialty was ranked fourth.

    The healthcare management program and public health graduate programs were both ranked fourth. The physician assistant graduate program was ranked seventh.

    The UW College of Education’s graduate program was ranked eighth; its special education program was ranked ninth.

    The UW biological sciences program in genetics/genomics/bioinformatics was ranked ninth. Analytical chemistry was ranked 10th.

    The UW has previously been ranked the 17th best university in the world by the Institute of Higher Education, Shanghai Jiao Tong University and 22nd of the top 100 global universities by Newsweek magazine.”…

    Sharon O’Hara

  3. How about implementing the suggestions of State Auditor Brian Sonntag – especially where the WSDOT and Ferries are concerned? Those amount to a couple of billion.

    How about firing some of those 6000+ new employees you hired, and the almost 12000 Gary Locke hired? What are they all doing anyway – writing and enforcing new regulations we neither need or want?

    Scrap the B&O tax and more will come back to you from businesses that can actually make it economically.

    Have L&I enforce the rules it already has on the books – like unlicensed contractors who pay nothing in taxes while licensed ones pay more than their share – and stop trying to jam stupid, featherbedding regulations like the Heat Stress rule down our throats.

    And that’s just for starters…

  4. The Governor wants your thoughts on the State government and budget about as much as the Port of Bremerton wants your thoughts about SEED.

  5. Here is my suggestion.. Don’t spend a dime of state money on Mayor Greg Nickels Gridlock Greg, the mono-rail killer plans for a big dig tunnel for rich millionaires on the Seattle water front. No Tunnel no Rebuild. and no to Speaker Chop’s Plan 9 from Outer-space. Go with the People’s Waterfront Coalition Surface option, it is the cheapest and the best.

    Also you should work on Microsoft paying taxes on their OS licensing business. Currently Nevada gets rich on an OS that is written and developed right here in Washington but they “Outsourced” the paperwork to Nevada.

  6. “Scrap the B&O tax”

    And scrap the sales tax to but only if it is a part of a truly progressive state wide income tax that included income from non-work sources. Implement the recommendations of the Gates’s Commission on Taxation.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Before you post, please complete the prompt below.

Enter the word yellow here: