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Washington State Senate Democrats Take the Lead on Government Reform

January 13, 2012

At the start of the new year democrats in the Washington State Senate released a number of government reform ideas that will be proposed to the state legislature.  Nearly fifty government reform initiatives have been identified by The Seattle Times and described as being capable of saving the state money in the long run but with few immediate budget relieving  impacts.

Some of the reform ideas include consolidating K-12 employee health insurance programs, strengthen the state’s ability to identify Medicaid abuse, lowering remediation rates for students by offering incentives to schools that improve the amount of students who are prepared to attend college without remedial courses, review leasing and purchasing contracts, eliminate the Liquor Control board, increasing the amount public employees pay for their premiums, and  reduce payroll fraud.

It was noted in the article that these measures have the ability to significantly save the state money. If several reforms are passed the legislature expects to save approximately $300 million dollars over three years.

While Washington Senate republican leaders oppose a temporary sales tax, suggested by Gov. Chris Gregorie (D), they agree with most reform ideas saying that they are a “good start.”  The senate republicans have been embracing a “reform before revenue” policy that will, in their hopes, force the legislature to examine and reform the state government before increasing taxes.

A list of some reform items from the Smart Reforms and Strategic Investments program are available here.

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