News Sims Responds to Criminal Justice Dept; Phillips Responds to Sims
posted by June 6 at 14:30 PMon
Posted by news intern Chris Kissel
As Erica noted, I went downtown yesterday to catch Ron Sims’ press conference, held in response to announcements by County Prosecutor Dan Satterberg and Sheriff Sue Rahr detailing their own responses to $68 million in King County budget cuts.
After spending half of his prepared comments giving props to Satterberg, Sims acknowledged the budget hole, which will see cuts of up to one-third of the county’s budgets for public health and human services - Sims voiced particular concern for domestic protection orders - and blamed the deficit on “a structural gap.” He said his office is working with the prosecutor’s office and state government to find a way out that won’t include an increase in the property tax levy, adding that “solving this problem is my top priority.”
He added that $130 million in cuts made a few years have left county agencies lean as it is. “We’ve cut away the easy stuff. Now we’re talking about the heart and soul of government,” he said.
After the meeting, King County Budget Committee Chair Larry Phillips stood outside in the rain with reporters and berated Sims for not dealing with the problem when he had the chance. “This should have been headed off years ago. It could have been avoided, unfortunately it wasn’t,” he said.
Sims and Phillips agreed that the public needs to be made aware of the severity of the crisis and that these budget problems are likely to cause problems the next few years.