1,266 jobs lost to cuts by state

OLYMPIA — Budget cuts approved by the Legislature last week are expected to result in a cut of 1,266 full-time jobs in Washington state government.

Most of the cuts are a result of privatizing liquor sales and distribution in the state, but some jobs will also be cut from the Department of Social and Health Services.

DSHS, the state’s largest general government agency, has shed nearly 17 percent of its workforce since June 2008, The Olympian newspaper reported.

DSHS spokesman Thomas Shapley says the DSHS cuts, which include about 440 full-time equivalent jobs, have come while demand for agency services continues to grow.

Virtually all of the new cuts are to positions that currently are vacant.

“We have done everything we can to make the reductions away from the front lines,” Shapley said.

The bipartisan supplemental budget passed last week authorized 104,841 state positions, according to estimates released this week by the governor’s Office of Financial Management.

It is unclear how many of the job cuts – outside of the liquor agency – will result in layoffs.

The last time the state’s work force was smaller was during the 2001-03 budget cycle, when there were 104,189 full-time equivalent positions on the payroll.

Republican Rep. Gary Alexander of Thurston County, an advocate for smaller government, said he will be watching to see how the laid-off liquor workers are able to find new jobs and whether the quality of other state services declines.

But he thinks additional reductions could be made.

“I believe that we should be taking a hard look at the programs and activities the state of Washington is doing compared to what the private sector can do,” Alexander said.

Democratic Sen. Ed Murray of Seattle is concerned that the state has already cut perilously close to the bone. He said state government workers are the people who protect natural resources, teach college classes, take care of the disabled and perform other vital services.

“We know we need to cut. But I think there are limits to what we should be doing,” Murray said, singling out K-12 public schools and higher education.

The new budget does add staff members to some state programs, including eight new positions for child-support collection and 28 for long-term care at DSHS. There also are 12 positions for the Attorney General’s Office, which is getting new duties to attack Medicaid fraud.

———

Information from: The Olympian, http://www.theolympian.com

More in Herald Business Journal

Amazon lists 20 finalists for HQ2, and no, we aren’t on it

Los Angeles was the only West Coast city listed. They seem to like the nation’s capital.

Strange and wonderful creatures come through door of Bothell clinic

At the Center for Bird and Exotic Animal Medicine, vets treat snakes, hedgehogs and even kangaroos.

Emirates orders 20 more Airbus A380 jumbos, saving program

The Dubai carrier also has options to buy 16 more. The program seems safe until 2029.

How do you retrieve an errant Boeing 737 from a muddy slope?

Turkish authorities used cranes to lift a plane that skidded off a runway.

Amanda Strong (left) tries on an Angel of the Winds Arena hat as she and Courtney Brown hand out gift bags after the renaming ceremony Dec. 13 in Everett. The new name replaces the Xfinity name. (Andy Bronson / Her file)
Angel of the Winds to break ground on $60M casino expansion

“We think we’re on the cusp of becoming a major resort.”

House passes bill aimed at lowering gender wage gap

The bill would hinder employers from retaliating against female workers who ask about others’ pay.

Planemaker joins forces with auto-industry supplier Adient

The new venture poses a threat to Zodiac Aerospace and Rockwell Collins

Alaska Airlines has selected destinations for new service from Paine Field. (Alaska Airlines)
Alaska Airlines will fly from Everett to 8 West Coast cities

Two destinations that didn’t make the list were Spokane and Hawaii.

Glitches slow Boeing, SpaceX plans for human spaceflight

Boeing has an issue with its abort system that may cause the spacecraft to “tumble.”

Most Read