Commentary: Gregoire acting responsibly with budget

This editorial appeared in The Tri-City Herald.

Gov. Chris Gregoire is keeping one promise.

"I will come up with something that will look truly ugly, truly ugly," she told the Moscow-Pullman Daily News nearly a month ago.

The governor was talking about the budget proposal she was drafting at the time. When the plan was unveiled last week, it was every bit as gruesome as she had predicted.

It didn't take any clairvoyant skills. With a $5.7 billion projected shortfall, anyone could predict some pain in the 2009-11 spending package.

Even so, it was hard not to flinch when the numbers were released last week.

Proposed cuts in the two-year, $66.1 billion budget include:

- $8.5 million from early learning programs.

- $300 million from higher education.

- $800 million from K-12 education.

- $478 million from human services.

- $990 million from health care.

- $200 million from public safety.

The savings would come from shrinking the safety net for many of the most vulnerable, suspending pay raises for teachers and state workers, about 2,600 layoffs, closing 13 state parks and other equally painful cuts.

Truly ugly, as the governor pledged.

To read the complete editorial, visit The Tri-City Herald.