budget cuts

RICHLAND, Wash. – As many as 4,800 workers could be furloughed or laid off at the Hanford Nuclear Reservation in southeast Washington. It’s the result of the federal spending cuts known as the sequester. Hanford will need to cut $182 million in cleanup work according to a federal letter to Washington Governor Jay Inslee released Tuesday.

Great Beyond / Flickr

Seattle public libraries are closed this week, in an effort to cope with budget cuts. That inspired some locals to take matters into their own hands, establishing a temporary, outdoor “People’s Library.”

This is the fourth year Seattle libraries have taken a furlough week to save money, stranding would-be readers, internet users and stir-crazy parents. Among the exasperated were University of Washington graduate student Yates Coley and her friends.

Defense Secretary Leon Panetta announced that the the Pentagon will propose a $33 billion cut in the military's budget, for the 2013 fiscal year.

The AP reports that will be achieved by reducing ground forces by 100,000 and by eliminating older aircraft.

The AP reports:

"Defense Secretary Leon Panetta tells a Pentagon news conference the administration will request a 2013 budget of $525 billion, plus another $88 billion for operations in Afghanistan. Combined, those totals are about $33 billion less than the Pentagon is spending this year.

Teachers across the state plan to protest cuts to public schools on the first day of the legislature’s special session to shore up the budget.

Hundreds of educators will rally in Olympia on Monday, Nov. 28. Even more teachers will deliver their concerns virtually.

Richard Wohl-Corbin

"...There are ideas out there other than cutting.”

College students will descend on Olympia today as the legislature kicks off a special session to tackle the state’s budget shortfall. Nearly a dozen schools have banded together to send busloads of students to the capitol. 

OLYMPIA, Wash. – Washington's largest state employee union says 'no' to higher health care premiums. Governor Chris Gregoire Wednesday asked the unions to reopen their labor contracts. The move comes on the eve of the governor's big budget cutting announcement scheduled for Thursday.

Washington has a $1.4 billion budget problem. Now the governor says she needs to negotiate another increase in what state employees pay for their health care.

OLYMPIA, Wash. – Washington state agencies are putting entire programs on the chopping block – including $65 million from UW and WSU – to satisfy a request by the governor for more budget savings.

On Thursday, Governor Chris Gregoire notified state lawmakers that she will call them back to Olympia on November 28th for a special budget cutting session to make the cuts.

Susan Walsh / Associated Press

U.S. Senator Patty Murray has debuted in her newest high profile role. The Washington Democrat co-chairs the so-called supercommittee on federal debt reduction. It held its first meeting today in Washington, DC., and Murray provided opening remarks.

This fall, the deficit cutting committee will recommend $1.2 trillion in spending cuts over the next ten years.

If you've got books overdue at the Seattle public library don't worry. No fines will be charged this week while all the public libraries in the city are closed due to budget cuts.

Seattle libraries will reopen after Labor Day on Tuesday, Sept. 6.

Washington State University is finalizing its plans to cut $40 million in the current biennium budget.

Washington State University President Elson Floyd says he’s never seen anything like it in his years in higher education— he’s referring to the loss of 52% of the university’s net state appropriation in the past four years. And about forty million dollars needs to be cut in the current budget cycle through 2013.

To help achieve that reduction, the university will cut $3.2 million from Academic Affairs but Floyd says they’ll spare academic programs.

Washington's litter hotline is no more. The toll free number to report people throwing trash out of their cars has fallen victim to state budget cuts.

This season of state budget cuts in Olympia was different than previous bad-budget years, not just in size and scope – but also because the Legislature eliminated many small programs rather than suspending them so they can be brought back online more easily in better times.

“That’s different,” said Marty Brown, director of Washington's Office of Financial Management.

The $4.6 billion in cuts that resulted in the state’s current $32 billion two-year budget contained many program eliminations that surprised even veteran budget wonks like Brown.

Washington budget writers just can’t catch a break. Earlier this week, state income had fallen another $22 million short of forecasts. That’s on top of a forecasted revenue slump that will leave the state with only $163.3 million in reserve by June 2013.

All of which comes on the heels of the Legislature’s $32 billion two-year budget that cut $4.6 billion.

We’ve heard about the big cuts to education and a few other programs – such as closing the state tourism office, the quit cigarette hotline, living will registry and ending film industry incentives. Now, here’s 10 small programs cuts that will affect the way at least some Washington citizens live their lives:

Despite facing the steepest budget shortfall in the past 3 years, Seattle Public School officials say class sizes will not get any bigger next fall. The district's school board unanimously approved a plan last night to close a $45.5 million gap with considerable cuts to school supports and jobs, but teachers were largely spared.

Seattle Parks and Recreation

Some neighborhoods could lose their central gathering spots for kids and seniors. The city is considering closing several community centers or reducing hours to cut costs. 

The Washington state budget plan released Tuesday will cut funding for in-home health care workers. In reaction, one health care workers' union has already filed an initiative aiming to mitigate the effects of some of those reductions.

A tentative agreement to fill Washington state's $5 billion budget shortfall includes cuts to teacher salaries.

Details of the $32 billion spending plan released Tuesday include a 1.9 percent cut for teacher pay and a 3 percent cut for other K-12 employees. Those changes will save the state $179 million over the next two years. Lawmakers are also moving to suspend voter-approved cost-of-living adjustments for education employees, saving another $300 million.

Photo by Bellamy Pailthorp

Update: On Monday, May 9, the Pierce Transit Board of Commissioners approved a 20% permanent service reduction scheduled to start June 12. But the board rejected the proposed plan for the final 15% reduction scheduled for October, and instead directed staff to develop a modified plan that focuses on maximizing ridership.

The next time you're stuck in traffic, frustrated by the length of your commute time, take a moment to consider how long your trip would be if you couldn't drive to your workplace, your doctors office, or your church. 

Police, fire and all other departments in Seattle have been asked to find budget cuts for next year. Mayor Mike McGinn has instructed every office to look for trims because of lagging city revenues.

San Juan Islands Visitors Bureau

Lawmakers in Olympia are struggling to close a $5 billion budget gap, and, like many state programs, natural resource agencies are on the chopping block. A study by a Tacoma-based non-profit says cutting those services too deeply could cost a lot more money than it saves.


If you ride Community Transit buses, brace yourself for longer waits and fewer trips. For the second year in a row, bus service in Snohomish County is facing a 20 percent cut.

Atomic Taco / Flickr

The red-and-yellow buses of King County’s new RapidRide system may stall before they have a chance to really get going. The Seattle Times reports that budget cuts proposed by House Republicans may leave the new Bus Rapid Transit program without promised start-up funds