From Washington state:
- Gov. Christine Gregoire yesterday announced plans to cut 1,000 state government middle-management jobs in a move widely seen as a prelude to a budget proposal that will include more cuts and a tax increase.
Saying the state has "too many people pushing paper," Gregoire said the job-cuts proposal would save $50 million. "We must reduce bloated middle management."
Gregoire announced other cost-saving measures as well, such as changing the way state agencies buy goods to get cheaper prices and closing the state film office. Most of the items she outlined, including the layoffs, require approval by the Legislature. Altogether they're projected to save a little more than $120 million, an amount that does little to offset a budget shortfall estimated at more than $2 billion.
What kind of tax hikes are under consideration?
- Options that have gotten the most discussion lately by lawmakers include so-called "sin taxes," on items such as cigarettes, and bringing back an estate tax that was knocked out by a recent state Supreme Court ruling.