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

Former Monroe cop loses appeal on sex crimes conviction

Once a highly respected officer, he was found guilty of secretly videotaping his kids’ babysitter.

Derrick “Wiz” Crawford, 22, is a suspect in the homicide of his roommate. (Edmonds Police Department)
Roommate suspected in Edmonds killing found hiding in closet

Police had been searching for him for 10 days before locating him at a house in Everett.

Stabbing in Everett follows dispute between brothers-in-law

The victim, 54, was hospitalized. The suspect, 29, had not been apprehended Thursday.

New leaders coming to county, state political parties

Hillary Moralez of Bothell takes over as chair for the Snohomish County Democratic Party.

Camano Island man gets 18 years for role in drug ring

He was convicted of helping lead a drug distribution network in four Washington counties.

Lake Stevens man missing since beginning of January

Jason Michael Knox White hasn’t used his credit card or withdrawn money from his bank since then.

Deal reached on water bill clears way for action on capital budget

A lot of funding will to go toward housing, schools and projects in Snohomish County and statewide.

Stormy weather knocks out power to parts of Everett

About 3,700 PUD customers lost electricity in Snohomish County early Thursday morning.

Young woman missing from Mukilteo found safe

She called her parents and told them she was at a museum in Seattle.

Most Read