City Sims Announces Major Budget Cuts; More, Possibly, To Come
posted by October 13 at 14:38 PMon
King County Executive Ron Sims just announced what he called an “unconventional” plan to reduce the county budget by $93 million, the projected shortfall for next year. In addition to slashing jobs across the board—400 positions, “some of them friends I have known for decades,” will be cut—Sims proposed creating a “lifeboat” fund that would keep certain critical services, including public safety, human services, health, and housing programs, afloat until after the next session of the state legislature. The county hopes to convince legislators in Olympia to give it new authority to fix a structural deficit that can be blamed largely on Tim Eyman’s Initiative 747, which limits property tax increases to one percent a year. (Although the courts struck 747 down, the state legislature codified it in 2007). If legislators decline to lift the property-tax cap or give the county another avenue for raising revenues, those “lifeboat” programs—which will cost the county about $12 million to maintain for half a year—will go away. By 2012, Sims estimated, the county’s parks system would have to be shuttered as well.
The county council is in recess, and is expected to respond to Sims’s budget announcement in a moment.