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Dispatches from public radio's correspondent at the Washington Legislature. Austin Jenkins is the Olympia correspondent for the Northwest News Network. You can also see Austin on television as host of TVW's (the C–SPAN of Washington State) weekly public affairs program "Inside Olympia."

Washington Governor Directs Agencies To Identify 15 Percent Cuts

Colin Fogarty
Northwest News Network files

Washington Governor Jay Inslee is directing state agencies to identify 15 percent cuts in the next budget. The directive comes as the latest revenue forecast out Tuesday shows an ongoing sluggish recovery.

David Schumacher, director of the state's Office of Financial Management, said the budget-cutting exercise does not mean all agencies will be cut by 15 percent.

“This is not a drill to impose across-the-board cuts," he said. "This is a drill to give the governor the options to figure out where the pain will be least.”

But already, the union representing prison workers is sounding the alarm. Teamsters Local 117 warned a 15 percent cut to corrections would require the closure of a prison and the early release of inmates.

Washington is feeling budget pressures on several fronts. Among them are a Supreme Court requirement to increase school funding, pent-up demand for state employee pay increases, and ongoing pension and health care obligations.

Since January 2004, Austin Jenkins has been the Olympia-based political reporter for the Northwest News Network. In that position, Austin covers Northwest politics and public policy, as well as the Washington State Legislature. You can also see Austin on television as host of TVW's (the C–SPAN of Washington State) Emmy-nominated public affairs program "Inside Olympia."