OLYMPIA — The governor’s budget office sent the Senate a lengthy list of concerns about the spending plan it rolled out on Wednesday, questioning cuts to social services as well as how much money the proposal assumes will be saved by making government more efficient.
The Republican-led Senate is expected to vote on the budget Friday afternoon.
Among the concerns cited by the state Office of Financial Management:
- Cuts to the Working Connections Child Care program. OFM maintains the move would cut off subsidized childcare to 1,612 families per month over the next two years based on projected growth in caseloads.
- A proposal to reduce and, in some cases, eliminate cash assistance for the elderly and disabled. OFM notes the Senate budget says the people affected would be eligible for housing assistance but that their budget also cuts funding for that program, “which means more people will be served with fewer resources.”
- The Senate budget provides less funding than needed to keep the state park system running at current levels, which would “likely result in 10 to 20 temporary or permanent park closures.”
- How much the Senate budget relies on “presumed savings and under-expenditures.” Specifically, OFM notes the Senate budget counts on saving $157 million by making state government more efficient and also expects to get another $120 million in left over money from agencies that don’t spend everything they’re allowed to in the budget. “This degree of speculation creates a serious risk that budget reductions will translate into real cuts to agency services,” OFM wrote.