Government continues to shrink
Here's an update on the scope of our reductions in state government due to the Great Recession.
State government employment has been reduced for two straight years, eliminating 4,700 full-time positions -- or more than 7 percent of the state's workforce -- since 2009.
The workforce is expected to continue to shrink as budget cuts approved by the Legislative earlier this year take effect. In addition, Gov. Gregoire has directed state agencies to plan for further possible cuts due to the state's continued depressed revenues.
So far, two state agencies have absorbed two-thirds of all the cuts — The Department of Social and Human Services and the Department of Corrections. DSHS has lost 2,400 full-time positions, or about 13 percent of its workforce, since 2007.
You can read more about the reductions here.
Hometown Heroes raffle will benefit state’s veterans
Like so many other critical state programs depleted and dismantled due to the economic downturn, the Veterans Innovations Program (VIP) was on pace to run out of money in 2012 if a funding source was not found.
Thanks to Senate Bill 5806, the VIP and the good it does for hundreds of our state’s military veterans and their families will continue.
The bill establishes the Hometown Heroes Raffle, a statewide lottery that will kick off on Labor Day, Sept. 5, with the prize drawing to be held on Nov. 11 – Veteran’s Day. Tickets for the raffle will sell for $10 each.
Money from the raffle, after paying administrative and prize costs, will go entirely toward the VIP fund. The fund has impacted more than 800 of the state’s veterans and their families since its inception in 2006. It helps veterans pay for everything from simple goods and services to larger expenses such as job training, mental health counseling and even help with rent or mortgage payments.
Discover Pass details
The Discover Pass went into effect on July 1, 2011 in order to ensure that we are able to keep our state-managed recreation lands open to the public as we continue to recover from the Great Recession.
The Legislature is continuing to monitor the implementation of the Discover Pass, which is being conducted by the Washington State Parks and Recreation Commission, the Washington State Department of Natural Resources, and the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife. Unfortunately, the agencies are not allowing pass holders to transfer the pass among vehicles within a single family. We are working with them to try to resolve this, understanding that each family doesn’t necessarily take the same vehicle from one trip to the next.
While the annual pass costs $30 (and a day pass costs $10), there is a $5 fee on the annual pass ($1.50 for a day pass). You can buy a pass anywhere hunting and fishing license are sold, online at the Discover Pass website, find a purchase location on the website, or buy over the phone at 866-320-9933. To avoid paying these additional fees, buy your pass directly from a State Park Ranger, if a ranger is available on-site, or in the Tumwater, Burlington or Spokane State Park Offices.
If you are planning to fish or hunt on state lands, you’ll need to purchase both a fishing or hunting license and the Discover Pass.
To learn more, go to the centralized Discover Pass website.