Wednesday, March 29, 2023

Play

Banking woes send consumers looking for safer alternatives, some Indiana communities resist a dollar chain store "invasion," and a permit to build an oil pipeline tunnel under the Great Lakes is postponed.

Play

Republicans say it is premature to consider gun legislation after the Nashville shooting, federal officials are unsure it was a hate crime, and regulators say Silicon Valley Bank was aware of its financial risks.

Play

Finding childcare is a struggle everywhere, prompting North Carolina's Transylvania County to try a new approach. Maine is slowly building-out broadband access, but disagreements remain over whether local versus national companies should get the contracts, and specialty apps like "Farmers Dating" help those in small communities connect online.

State Workers Get Notice of Potential Layoffs as Budget Talks Continue

Play

Friday, May 26, 2017   

OLYMPIA, Wash. – The seemingly never-ending budget talks in Olympia have become much more dire for thousands of the state's employees.

Friday, the state budget office formally notified AFSCME, the union that represents Washington state employees, that workers could be temporarily laid off if a compromise isn't reached by July 1. Some employees received notice of potential layoffs earlier in the week.

Tim Welch, the director of public affairs for the Washington Federation of State Employees, says the notifications hurt morale and the uncertainty hurts state agencies' ability to plan for the future.

"How do you fight wildfires in the summer?" he asks. "How do you keep highways clear during summer traveling months? How do you prepare for what happens after July 1? Will there be a budget? Will there not be a budget?"

State lawmakers entered a second special session this week. If lawmakers don't come to an agreement by the end of June, there will be a government shutdown. The agreement also must satisfy the state Supreme Court's mandate to come up with a funding model for Washington's schools.

Democrats, who control the House, want to increase taxes on polluters through a carbon tax and originally wanted to increase the capital gains tax. But, Gov. Jay Inslee took that option off the table.

Republicans, who control the Senate, want to raise property taxes in cities such as Seattle and lower them in rural parts of the state. Senate Republicans also want to make cuts to state government and have so far rejected state employees' new contracts.

Welch says funding schools is clearly the priority, but school children would be undermined by cuts in other places.

"What good is it to have their education funded if they're homeless or if they're hungry and there aren't the services there to provide those services as well?" he poses. "We got to do it all, and we got to do it smartly, but we got to find the revenue and we can't cut our way out of this."

The state employees' contract provides a six-percent raise over the next two years to help with retention and recruitment.

Welch notes the irony of a recent decision to increase state lawmakers' pay by four percent, even as state employees get notices that they might be laid off.


get more stories like this via email

California is home to banks of all sizes, including 36 Minority Depository Institutions and 111 Community Development Financial Institutions. (Syda Productions/Adobe Stock)

Social Issues

The recent collapse of Silicon Valley Bank and Signature Bank has put a spotlight on the safety and stability of the U.S. financial system. Now…


Environment

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has announced an 18-month delay in permitting a controversial oil-tunnel construction project under the Great Lakes…

Social Issues

Advocacy groups said they are concerned about the lack of accountability surrounding Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine's $388 million proposal to staff schools …


There are more than 7,004 certified nurse midwives currently employed in the United States, according to Zippia. (Adobe Stock)

Health and Wellness

The Iowa House has passed a measure to establish a licensing board for midwives. Iowa is one of 15 states currently without such a program, often …

Social Issues

By Jazmin Murphy for Yes! Magazine.Broadcast version by Brett Peveto for North Carolina News Service reporting for the Solutions Journalism Network-…

Black Americans are the most likely to suffer from insufficient sleep. (ChadBridwell/Adobe Stock)

Health and Wellness

March is Sleep Awareness Month and health experts say Americans are not getting enough of it. United Health Foundation data found more than 32% of …

Environment

Environmental groups are seeking greater input as California puts the finishing touches on its application to become a hub for hydrogen fuel productio…

Social Issues

160 years ago, Civil War soldiers were awarded the first Medals of Honor. Now, a Medal of Honor Monument will soon be built on the National Mall in …

 

Phone: 303.448.9105 Toll Free: 888.891.9416 Fax: 208.247.1830 Your trusted member- and audience-supported news source since 1996 Copyright 2021