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Northwest Voices

Seattle Times letters to the editor

December 2, 2008 at 2:42 PM

Cutting budgets

Read between the audit lines

I read in Sunday’s Seattle Times, regarding the state budget cuts recommended by Gov. Christine Gregoire, that the performance audits prescribed by Initiative 900 be sliced out [“Gregoire looking at massive state budget cuts,” News, Nov. 30].

I realize the audits are budgeted at $27 million but they have shed light on more wasted money. I have read each audit and these are vital to assisting in actually getting a handle on the state budget.

Here are a few examples from the audits: collection of state debt, $15.6-$160 million in one-time savings; Department of Transportation results wrap-up, engrossed substitute Senate Bill 6839, $27 cost savings for every $1 spent on the audit; Department of Transportation, highway maintenance and construction, 34 recommendations resulting in potential cost savings and unnecessary expenditures of $41.9 million; Port of Seattle, construction management, 51 recommendations resulting in $97 million unnecessary costs; Department of Transportation, administration and overhead, 11 recommendations resulting in $96.9 million over five years.

These examples demonstrate the need for the audits and for our state Legislature to start enacting many of the recommendations.

— Todd Welch, Everett

No-brainer on health-care premiums

Are you kidding me? In this day and age of tough economic times and the huge budget cuts facing the state of Washington, this is a no brainer to me [“Should King County workers share the cost of health premiums?,” News, Nov. 28].

It is unbelievable that county workers have 100 percent of their health-care premiums paid for themselves and their dependents, no matter how many children they have. There are few companies in the private sector that have this benefit anymore.

Our tax dollars are going to pay for better benefits for county employees than what you can get in the private sector. The more children you have the better your benefit package is.

It is time to level this playing field permanently.

Let’s get with the times and trim this budget where it should be trimmed.

— Diane Stuvland, Kenmore

Health care starts here

The state of Washington faces a health-care crisis greater than our budget deficit. Gov. Christine Gregoire and the Democratic Legislature provided funds for 80,000 children to get health insurance. Meanwhile 46 million Americans have no health insurance.

Facing a $4.1 billion deficit, there will be pressure to cut funding for children’s health care. Children are not the future of this state — they are the present. Quality education requires healthy students. Employers need educated workers. So it is only natural that the governor and Legislature should fully fund health care for all children and work with the President-elect Barack Obama administration and Congress to reform our health-care system.

If the GOP blocks health-care reform again, that party will have destroyed the American economy and outsourced U.S. health care to Korea and Thailand, where surgical operations are affordable.

— Thomas Karwaki, Seattle

Comments | More in Economy, King County Council, Washington Legislature

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