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State Budget Crisis
Gregoire would consolidate state agencies, commissions
Governor Chris Gregoire is proposing to consolidate 12 state agencies and in the process eliminate 125 jobs. It’s part of her plan to reduce the size and, what she calls, “complexity” of Washington state government. The state faces a $4.6 billion gap between anticipated revenues and spending in the next two year budget.
Gregoire says Washington’s ongoing budget woes demand government reform.
“So today we’re laying out the building blocks of what we hope is a twenty-first century state government," says Gregoire
Gregoire, a Democrat, wants to consolidate 11 Natural Resource agencies – including Fish and Wildlife and State Parks - into five agencies. She would also centralize back-end state services like human resources and general administration. And she would create a new office of Civil Rights to house what currently are five different minority affairs offices.
Rosalund Jenkins heads the Commission on African American Affairs. She admits to worrying about her job and that of her assistant. But says she supports the Governor’s effort.
“I’m proud, frankly, to be in a state where we’re making some effort to keep the ethnic voice on the table at all. In other states people haven’t been so fortunate,” says Jenkins.
She notes that nothing is set in stone. The changes would require legislative approval.