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October 26, 2011 at 2:45 PM

Gregoire wants to renegotiate state employee health-care benefits

Gov. Chris Gregoire’s budget director is asking state employee unions to reopen their 2011-13 health-care benefits agreement in an attempt to cut state costs.

In a letter sent to the unions Wednesday, Budget Director Marty Brown noted that the most recent state revenue forecast showed projected tax collections are down substantially.

The governor is expected to release a list of proposed budget cuts on Thursday to deal with a $2 billion budget shortfall.

The state wants to reopen the employee health-care agreements “in order to negotiate a reduction in the employer premium contribution,” Brown’s letter said.

Currently, state employees pay 15 percent of their health-insurance premiums and the state pays the rest.

“Because of the seemingly unrelenting pressure that the Great Recession has had on revenues and increased caseloads, state employees may be called upon yet again to sacrifice,” he wrote.

Brown said the state can’t force the unions to reopen the agreements.

Request to Reopen 2011-13 Health Care Benefits Agreement

Comments | More in General news, Government | Topics: health-care benefits, state employees

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