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Department of Corrections
|Governor's 1997-99 proposal
|Net change from 1995-97
|Percent change from 1995-97
HE STATE'S PRISON POPULATION has doubled over the past eight years, increasing from 6,053 inmates in 1988 to the present population of 12,127. This 100 percent increase far exceeds the 19.3 percent growth in the state's general population over the same period.
To keep up with these demands, the Department of Corrections (DOC) requires a growing share of the state budget.
Increases in the state's prison population are primarily attributable
to the imposition of more and longer sentences mandated by the
Legislature and citizen initiatives for certain offenses and offenders.
Since 1988, the Legislature has approved measures calling for
longer sentences for drug offenses, property crimes, and sex offenses.
In 1994, voters passed Initiative 593, the "Three Strikes
and You're Out" law, which requires life sentences for third-time
violent offenders. In 1995, voters approved Initiative 159, the
"Hard Time for Armed Crime Act," which significantly
increases sentences for offenses committed with a firearm. This
past session, the Legislature passed the "Two Strikes"
law, which mandates life imprisonment upon the second conviction
for certain sex offenses. It is this rapid growth in the inmate
population that drives the need for $83.9 million in additional
funding during the 1997-99 Biennium.
Governor Lowry is proposing the following initiatives to help
offset the increasing cost of corrections in Washington State.
Together, they are expected to save $11.1 million during the
- Delay Prison Expansion/Community Corrections Staff - Savings
of $5.7 million GF-S: By delaying the opening of newly expanded
facilities, significant savings can be achieved in the 1997-99
Biennium. Additional savings are realized by hiring Community
Corrections staff later in the biennium.
- Health Care Savings - $2.9 million savings: DOC
will intensify its efforts to provide constitutionally required
health care in the most cost-effective manner. By reducing staffing
ratios, maximizing contracted services, and continuing efficiencies
in medical services delivery, DOC can control growth in this area.
- First Time Offender Waiver - Savings of $1.9 million GF-S:
DOC is proposing legislation that will lower the community
supervision period from two years to one for offenders sentenced
under the first-time offender waiver. This waiver provides a
community alternative to prison for non-violent first time offenders.
- Drug Offender Sentencing Options - Savings of $641,000
GF-S: As an alternative to building more prisons, DOC is
proposing legislation that will expand the use of two sentencing
options for nonviolent drug offenders: the Work Ethic Camp Program
and the Special Drug Offender Sentencing Alternative. The proposal
also establishes different sentencing ranges for drug dealers
based on the quantity of drugs, with the result that small-time
drug dealers will serve less prison time than those who deal in
large quantities. These changes would promote the goals of the
1984 Sentencing Reform Act by making frugal use of the state's
resources, offering offenders an opportunity for self-improvement,
and ensuring that punishment is proportionate to the seriousness
of the offense. While some small savings are seen in the 1997-99
Biennium, savings in the 1999-01 Biennium are estimated to exceed
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Other Human Services
|Governor's 1997-99 proposal
|| $2,062.6 million
|Net change from 1995-97
|Percent change from 1995-97
HIS GROUP OF AGENCIES support health and social programs, and
includes the departments of Health, Labor and Industries, Veterans
Affairs, Employment Security, and the Health Care Authority.
The issues addressed by these agencies share important common
themes - increasing affordable health coverage, improving health
outcomes, helping dislocated workers find employment, and maintaining
During the past four years, Washington State has made significant
progress in all of these areas. Now, however, the 1997 Legislature
will face important decisions about whether to continue that progress
by providing the funds necessary to meet the growing demand for
affordable health care through the state's Basic Health Plan and
continuing its support for the Employment and Training Trust Fund.
It will also face the question of whether to meet the demand
for life-sustaining therapy funded by the AIDS Prescription Drug
Program and meet the rising cost of childhood immunization. Governor
Lowry's 1997-99 budget proposal continues Washington's commitment
to meet these challenges.
Health Services Account
In 1993, the Legislature created the Health Services Account (HSA)
to increase access to health services for low-income people, provide
Medicaid services to children in households earning up to 200
percent of the poverty level, and make other improvements in the
public health system. Since then, the number of low-income children
receiving subsidized health care has increased by 48 percent and
the number of low-income people participating in the Basic Health Plan has grown from 13,440 in June 1993 to the current 130,000. The program has been so successful that by November 1996, the waiting list for enrollment in the Basic Health Plan had grown to over 60,000 individuals. This situation demonstrates the strong demand among Washington citizens for health insurance coverage
at an affordable price.
The Governor's Proposal
To meet this growing demand, the Governor is proposing to increase
enrollment in the Basic Health Plan to 150,000 people by September
1997 and to 170,000 by September 1998 at a cost of $438.3 million.
By June 1999, he would also provide an additional $274.3 million
from the HSA to extend Medicaid coverage to all children under
200 percent of poverty (currently $25,960 per year for a family
of three). These initiatives - together with other enhancements
in children's dental care, the Medically Indigent Safety Net,
local public health services, and other programs - will require
a total of $834.2 million in expenditures from the HSA in the
When the HSA was first created in 1993, revenues were expected
to reach more than $1 billion by the end of the 1997-99 Biennium.
However, because several tax sources - such as the hospital tax
and the Health Maintenance Organization tax - did not generate
the amount of revenues expected, available resources are now expected
to reach only $606.4 million under current law. Rather than retreat
from the original goals of the state's landmark Health Services
Act of 1993, the Governor is proposing that additional revenues
be raised to support improved access to health care in the 1997-99
- Removing the Medicare/Medicaid revenue exemption for the Business
and Occupation tax on non-profit hospitals. (District hospitals,
Harborview Hospital, and the University of Washington would be
exempt from this provision.) This would increase revenue by $112.0
- Increasing the cigarette tax by 22 cents. The total cigarette
tax would be $1.045, with 63 cents going to the HSA. This would
increase revenue by $118.4 million.
- Increasing the tax on other tobacco products by 50 percentage
points. The total tax on other tobacco products would be 124.9
percent of the wholesale price, with 60 percent of the wholesale
price going to the HSA. This would increase revenue by $10.0
In total, these changes increase revenue for the 1997-99 Biennium
by $240.4 million. This, together with the current unexpended
balance, anticipated revenues, and interest earnings would fund
the Governor's policy initiatives and still leave an estimated
reserve of $12.6 million in the account. Through these actions,
Washington State continues to make progress toward achieving the
goal of providing affordable health care to all people.
Employment and Training Trust Fund
The Legislature established the Employment and Training Trust
Fund in 1993 to finance education programs for dislocated and
unemployed workers at community and technical colleges, and to
increase the capacity of the Employment Security Department to
help the unemployed find jobs. Since then, the trust fund has provided training to 20,000 dislocated and unemployed workers. The fund is scheduled to sunset in January 1998, unless the Legislature takes action to continue it. Despite improvements in the state's economy since 1993, many workers, especially those affected by
industrial downsizing, still need additional education and training
to adapt to a changing economy. For this reason, the Governor
is proposing to continue the Employment and Training Trust Fund
under its current funding source.
Under the Governor's proposal, an estimated $76.9 million in unemployment
insurance payments would be deposited in the Employment and Training
Trust Fund in the 1997-99 Biennium to support the following programs:
- Community College Enrollments - $63.9 million, Employment
and Training Trust Fund: Approximately 86 percent of the
funding made available by reauthorizing the Employment and Training
Trust Fund would be used to support enrollment slots for dislocated
and unemployed workers at state community and technical colleges,
along with associated financial aid and support services. This
would allow enrollment of 7,200 full-time equivalent (FTE) students
in FY 1998 and 7,200 FTE students in FY 1999. It would also provide
$8.4 million in support services for these students (such as tuition
aid, child care or transportation) and $10.2 million in financial
aid to allow dislocated and unemployed workers to complete their
courses of study.
- Job Search and Preparation - $10.3 million, Employment
and Training Trust Fund: The Governor's budget includes funding
to expand the capacity of the Employment Security Department to
help unemployed workers find new jobs. Investments include $2.7
million for labor market information, $3.6 million for collocation
of staff at community and technical colleges, $2.9 million for
employer outreach, and $1.1 million for tax collection.
Department of Health
The Governor is recommending additional funding to address rising
costs in two key public health services provided by the Department
of Health: the HIV/Aid program and the childhood immunization
- HIV/AIDS Prescription Drug Program (APDP) and
HIV Intervention Program (HIP) - $11.2 million GF-S,
$2.9 million Other Funds: These programs provide early intervention
services for low-income persons diagnosed with HIV infection who
do not have adequate insurance coverage to support needed medical,
dental, lab, and prescription drug services. Additional funding
is proposed to provide access to promising protease inhibitor
treatments and other new medications approved by the U.S. Food
and Drug Administration (FDA), which have been found to slow the
progression of HIV/AIDS and maintain client health and independence.
Since February 1996, program enrollment has increased by 50 percent,
causing expenditures to double as more people have sought access
to these medications.
- Vaccines - $6.8 million GF-S: Through Washington's
universal distribution policy, nearly 75 percent of all two-year-old
children receive basic immunization shots - one of the highest
rates in the country. Additional funding is required in the 1997-99
Biennium to address federal cutbacks in vaccine purchases ($1.9
million), and ensure that children can receive new, recommended
vaccines for DPT (Diphtheria, Tetanus, Pertussis) and Polio ($4.9
million). Also included in the costs are price increases for
all vaccines, which will go up by about 3 percent each year.
Under the Governor's proposal it is estimated that Washington
will be able to increase immunization rates for two-year olds
to 82 percent in 1999.
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|Governor's 1997-99 proposal
|| $2,328.3 million
|Net change from 1995-97
|Percent change from 1995-97
OVERNMENTAL OPERATIONS includes approximately 50 state agencies,
boards, and commissions. Each has a diverse mission and function,
ranging from maintenance of public facilities to promotion of
international trade. The Office of the Governor is a Governmental
Operations agency, as are the Office of the State Treasurer, the
Department of General Administration, the State Lottery Commission,
and the Department of Community, Trade, and Economic Development.
Among the most pressing general government issues are the need
to make computers year 2000 compliant and the need to provide
funding to cover the damages resulting from the severe storms
and floods in late 1995 and early 1996.
Year 2000 Conversion
Until very recently, computer systems were designed to an industry
standard that provided only two data fields for the year (i.e.,
"96" rather than "1996"). Twenty years ago,
using two data fields instead of four represented a substantial
and necessary efficiency for technology that was slow and expensive
compared with today's technology. In many cases, systems are
still in use today that were never expected to last into the next
millennium. These systems have no way of distinguishing the date
"2000" from "1900."
Unless maintenance is performed to make computer systems "Year
2000" compliant, a number of critical statewide information
systems will begin to fail during the 1997-99 Biennium. Because
many of the state's information systems share data, failure of
a single agency's system could lead to a statewide disruption
of services and operations.
Although existing staff will be used to convert systems to Year
2000 standards to the extent possible, there also will be a need
for outsourced or contracted staff. Firms and individuals with
the expertise to reprogram older systems are likely to become
less available as the year 2000 approaches. A number of tasks,
including assessment, maintenance, and testing need to be accomplished
within a short time frame. The problem needs to be addressed
this year - waiting even one more year would increase the risk
of system failure and would also tend to increase costs for contracted
Based on interviews with agencies and a review of their Year 2000
maintenance plans, the Department of Information Services estimates
that agencies will have absorbed $22.0 million in Year 2000 costs
by the end of the 1997-99 Biennium. The Governor's budget includes
$5.0 million General Fund-State (GF-S) and $10.1 million in other
funds for Year 2000 conversion work in the 1997-99 Biennium.
Costs for the Department of Social and Health Services account
for $4.1 million of the GF-S costs and $2.7 million in other funds.
Other agencies with major Year 2000 funding include the Department
of Employment Security ($2.3 million), Labor and Industries ($1.6
million), and the State Patrol ($1.0 million).
Floods and storms occurring in November and December of 1995 and
February of 1996 destroyed millions of dollars worth of private
and public facilities, and increased the threat of future floods
by weakening existing flood prevention structures. Under the
Presidential Disaster Declaration requested by the Governor, the
state is eligible for 75 percent federal matching funds for qualified
expenses related to these disasters. State and local government
funds make up the remaining 25 percent.
Three types of assistance are available to states under the Federal
Emergency Management Agency (FEMA): Individual Assistance; Public
Assistance; and Hazard Mitigation. Individual Assistance grants
for the 1995/96 storms will all be paid during the 1995-97 Biennium.
Public Assistance and Hazard Mitigation costs are expected to
be paid over a three-biennia period.
For the 1997-99 Biennium, $11.0 million of GF-S moneys are included
in Governor Lowry's budget to cover the state matching share,
and $50.6 million of General Fund-Federal (GF-F) moneys are included.
Because of the catastrophic costs of the floods and the devastation
to local communities, an additional, $5.4 million of GF-S moneys
are included to assist local governments with the match necessary
to receive federal funds.
Preparing preschool children to enter school "ready to learn"
has long been a priority in Washington State. The state-funded
Early Childhood Education and Assistance Program (ECEAP) and the
federally funded Head Start program together will serve more than
20,000 low-income children and families in Fiscal Year 1997.
ECEAP is targeted to four-year-olds, while Head Start serves children
three to five years of age. Nineteen of the 34 ECEAP contractors
also administer a Head Start program. These programs provide
a developmentally and age-appropriate curriculum, identify health
and nutritional issues that interfere with learning, and help
families locate and gain access to needed community resources.
They also involve parents in programs that promote family literacy,
job skills, and parenting skills.
A legislatively mandated ECEAP Longitudinal Study, now in its
ninth year, indicates that ECEAP helps children make significant
gains in cognitive, language, and physical development, while
also helping them to become more secure, outgoing, and expressive
before their entry into kindergarten. Early Head Start studies
have shown similar results. It is estimated that each $1 spent
on quality preschool for children in poverty can save $7 in special
education, crime-related, and public assistance costs.
Governor Lowry's budget proposal assumes that the supplemental
budget increase provided for the ECEAP program in 1996 will be
fully funded, ensuring that 860 additional ECEAP slots will be
available throughout the 1997-99 Biennium. These funds are designed
to support the educational, health, and nutritional needs of every
low-income preschool-aged child in Washington.
- The Governor's proposal provides an additional $1.7 million
to offset increasing salary costs and preserve the high quality,
comprehensive services provided by local ECEAP programs.
- The Governor anticipates that as many as 800 additional slots
will be available in the HeadStart program as a result of actions
taken in the 1997 federal budget.
- In 1996, the state was awarded a five-year, $750,000 HeadStart
State Collaboration Grant, designed to help create partnerships
between the federal HeadStart program and state systems that serve
children. This grant, obtained through the leadership of the
Governor's Office, will be expanded in the 1997-99 Biennium.
- Food Assistance - $12.4 million GF-S: Additional resources
are provided to mitigate changes in food stamp eligibility. The
Emergency Food Assistance Program (TEFAP) will receive $3.4 million
in state funds to purchase commodities for the state's food bank
network. This food replaces an estimated loss of $3 million in
federal commodities in the 1997-99 Biennium. In addition $9 million
in new cash grants will be provided by the Department of Community,
Trade, and Economic Development (CTED) to food banks for emergency
food assistance. These cash grants allow food banks flexibility
to provide balanced commodities to their clientele.
- International Trade - $1 million GF-S: Additional
funding is proposed to support international trade programs
operated by the Washington State Department of Agriculture (WSDA)
and CTED. WSDA will use $591,000 to offset the loss of federal
contributions to the Local Trade Assistance Network, add staff
to focus on specific commodities, and provide additional support
to the office in Japan. CTED will receive $440,000 to add staff
to focus on specific high technology markets in Europe and Asia,
and support efforts by the Export Assistance Center to assist
firms in securing loan guarantees for export transactions.
- Tourism - $1 million GF-S: Washington currently provides
less support for developing tourism than most other states. The
Governor's budget proposal provides additional funds to increase
national and international tourism marketing efforts, consistent
with the state's tourism development strategies.
- Planning and Environmental Review Fund - $1 million GF-S:
The Governor's proposal provides an additional $1 million
to support the Planning and Environmental Review Fund (PERF).
In addition, CTED is directed to set aside $500,000 of its appropriation
for Growth Management grants to support PERF activities. CTED
will work with the Department of Ecology and the Department of
Transportation to identify projects that might benefit from participation
in the PERF pilot program. Activities funded through PERF attempt
to integrate planning and analysis required by the State Environmental
Policy Act and the Growth Management Act to speed the development
- Growth Management Assistance - $4.8 million: CTED
will receive additional funding to provide grants and technical
assistance to local governments for Growth Management activities.
These funds will help to improve the quality of comprehensive
plans adopted under Growth Management Act guidelines and help
to resolve land use issues before they reach the crisis stage.
- Legal Services Assistance - $3.8 million: A total
of $3.8 million will be used to ensure access to the court system
for low-income residences. CTED will pass these funds to Columbia
Legal Services which will provide services. The funding partially
replaces $4.2 million of federal funding that was eliminated by
Congress for low-income legal assistance.
- Homelessness Prevention - $5 million: Funds are provided
for local area homelessness prevention activities as an element
of the state's response to reductions in federal welfare funding.
Based upon the current Mortgage and Rental Assistance Program
operating in rural natural resource impacted areas, these funds
will be used on a short-term basis to assist families at risk
of losing their housing.
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