Governor’s proposed biennial budget would fund our negotiated pay raises and ratified contracts. “Modest” increases would go a long way as an Investment in WA. Major initiatives in mental health, children’s, juvenile rehab. We need to be part of the debate and get the right info (no phony “fake” news) to legislators by signing up for one of our 2017 Lobby Days.
Gov. Jay Inslee today (Dec.14) unveiled his proposed budget for the two-year spending cycle that begins July 1 – and he invests in Washington by investing in his state employees.
He does this by funding our negotiated pay raises and ratified contracts for our 42,000 members in General Government, state colleges and universities and medical interpreters.
Inslee’s budget documents say he “is committed to building an effective and efficient state government, and he believes it all starts on the frontlines….
The governor also understands how important it is to give agencies the resources and tools they need to attract and retain the strongest possible workforce….
“Prior to 2015, state employees had gone six years without a general wage increase — the longest stretch since the early 1960s that they had not seen such a raise. In fact, at the height of the Great Recession, employees agreed to take a two-year, 3 percent pay cut to help the state weather the storm. Meanwhile, state employees are having to pay a larger share of their benefit costs. The average employee contribution to medical costs is now $161 per month, compared to less than $28 per month in 2001.”
The governor said the budget funds the “modest” general wage increases of 6 percent over two years and “targeted raises to address recruitment and retention issues in certain job classes.”
“All told, as a share of the General Fund budget, state employee salaries and benefits have fallen from 21 percent in 2008 to less than 17 percent in the current fiscal year,” the Governor’s office said.
You can see for yourself all the budget documents from the governor: http://www.ofm.wa.gov/budget17/highlights/default.asp
And we all need to be part of the debate. So sign up for one of our 2017 Lobby Days and let lawmakers know that investing in our negotiated pay raises and ratified contracts is an Investment in WA. Because this is not a done deal by any stretch. Now the state Senate and House will separately tear apart the governor’s plan starting next month and then issue their own recommendations. We have to let them know the governor’s plan investing in state employees is sound. And remember, the incoming chair of the budget-writing Senate Ways and Means Committee, Sen. John Braun, has questioned our negotiated pay raises, telling the media they are a “giveaway.”
So make plans to get set lawmakers right.
More on the governor’s budget:
There’s much more in the budget and we will scour all of the budget and have more details and impacts in the coming days. But here are some major things that jumped out today:
• The governor would invest heavily in mental health, including bolstering our three state mental hospitals but also investing in community resources, including nine, 16-bed state-operated community facilities. His office said it’s a “major overhaul of the state’s troubled mental health system. His proposal would create a patient-centered system with sizable new resources for treating people in the community.” We have to delve deeper because there are undoubtedly good things and some unintended consequences in his plan. But this begins the debate. All told, the governor proposes to add 1,000 new mental health beds and more than 700 staff positions to the state’s comprehensive mental health system.
• Inslee’s budget plan will also “lay the groundwork” for a new agency focusing on the needs of abused, neglected and at-risk children. This follows the recommendation of a Blue Ribbon Commission we told you about last week. Again, all of our members affected by this proposed new agency are now part of the debate – and why they should all come to a Lobby Day in the 2017 session.
• We are greatly alarmed by the governor’s proposal to close the Naselle Youth Camp in Juvenile Rehabilitation for 76 youthful offenders. The governor’s plan would move those youth to Echo Glen Children’s Center in Snoqualmie and Green Hill School in Chehalis.
• For state Parks, the governor proposes continuing to use litter tax revenues to support Parks operations to accommodate 30 million visitors every year at 125 developed state parks. Inslee’s plan would also increase preventative maintenance and preservation to campgrounds and historic structures – all important to our Parks Local 1466 member and all of us who visit these “Crown Jewels of Washington.”
• In Corrections, the governor proposes savings by requiring terms of supervision to be served concurrently unless the court expressly orders the terms to be served consecutively, and allow earned time credits to be prospectively applied to confinement pursuant to a weapons enhancement.