Layoffs, closed parks, no lottery without a budget deal

OLYMPIA — As legislative leaders insisted Thursday that they are nearing agreement on a new state budget, the governor’s office offered a preview of what might occur if they fail and a partial government shutdown ensues.

State parks will close, the lottery will halt, and most convicted criminals will be monitored less closely outside prison walls if Washington is forced to cease many of its operations July 1.

Those are among the hundreds of programs and services which would be halted or scaled back, according to an analysis released by the Office of Financial Management.

In all, 34 state agencies would be completely shut down and 24 others would incur a partial cessation, said Mary Alice Heuschel, chief of staff for Gov. Jay Inslee. Twenty-five agencies would continue operating because they are funded wholly or in large part from sources other than the state’s general fund.

Meanwhile, the leader of the state Senate predicted the Legislature can be done Sunday, one day before layoff notices are sent to thousands of state workers.

“We are going to finish on Sunday and there will be absolutely no shutdown of state government,” said Senate Majority Leader Rodney Tom, D-Medina, who is a member of the Majority Coalition Caucus ruling the Senate.

Senate and House budget negotiators said Thursday they are making steady progress but are at least a day away from achieving an agreement in principle that can be written up and voted on. House Speaker Frank Chopp declined to say if he thought a budget could be passed by Sunday.

Planning for the shutdown won’t stop until the Legislature acts on a spending plan for the biennium that runs from July 1 though June 30, 2015.

Among those agencies that can expect to be shuttered include the Lottery Commission, Public Disclosure Commission and Liquor Control Board.

Washington’s largest agencies, such as the Department of Social and Health Services and Department of Corrections would curtail some activities while community colleges, universities and the court system will stay open.

Also, the Washington State Patrol and Washington State Ferries will operate because those are funded through the state transportation budget, which has been signed in law.

Only once before has the Legislature come this close to forcing a government shutdown. That occurred in 1991 when the House and Senate approved a budget early June 30 and Gov. Booth Gardner signed it shortly before midnight.

Here is a sample of what might happen:

•Most community supervision of ex-convicts would be halted;

Prisons would not accept new inmates;

Offenders in local or tribal jails for violating probation as of June 30 would be released;

Licensing and regulation of real estate brokers, home inspectors, barbers, cosmetologists and many other professions would be suspended;

The State Patrol would halt involvement in Snohomish County Auto Theft Task Force;

No lottery tickets would be sold or drawings conducted;

Horse racing at Emerald Downs would be halted;

State parks would be closed and camping reservations for early July canceled.

Jerry Cornfield: 360-352-8623; jcornfield@heraldnet.com

More in Local News

Suspect sought in two Everett bank robberies

He’s described as 5-foot-10 to 6-foot-1, with dark hair and a goatee, and may have a neck tattoo.

Jogger unharmed after fending off attacker in Edmonds

Police released video of a man they believe to be the attacker.

Two missing men found, one alive and one dead

The man found alive was found in an apartment across the hallway and taken to a hospital.

Darrington School Board dealing with upheavals

The crux of the controversy seems to be the superintendent’s job.

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.

Three teens arrested for Marysville school vandalism

Windows were broken and a trash bin was on fire Sunday night at a Marysville middle school.

Langley mayor threatens newspaper with lawsuit

The mayor threatened to sue the paper over claims he withheld public records disclosure information.

Divers called to recover body after train hits pedestrian

The accident was reported by a BNSF crew near Woods Creek in Monroe.

Katharine Graham, then CEO and chairwoman of the board of The Washington Post Co., looks over a copy of The Daily Herald with Larry Hanson, then The Herald’s publisher, during her visit to Everett on Sept. 20, 1984. The Washington Post Co. owned The Herald from 1978 until 2013. (Herald archives)
A local connection to history

Retired Herald publisher Larry Hanson remembers The Post’s Katharine Graham, who visited several times.

Most Read