2013 session beginsby Pat Thompson, Council 2 Deputy Director on January 28, 2013
The 2013 Legislature was opened with the celebration of a new governor. That’s where the parties will probably begin and end. Governor Christine Gregoire presided over a very difficult time in our state’s history. Perhaps the most difficult from a financial prospective. Our union saw several improvements passed into law during her first term. Pension enhancements like lowering the retirement age for Plan 2 from 65 to 62 for 30-year employees top the list.
Then the recession/depression hit in 2008. Budgets took a dive and everyone suffered to some degree. Most local government budgets fared better than the state. Although we seem to be through the worst of it, we’re a long ways from a full recovery.
So our new Governor Inslee has a bumpy road to navigate. The budget deficit is still looming and his task is made more difficult by at least two factors:
1) A Supreme Court Case that commands more money for education.
2) The defection of two Democrats that changes the control of the State Senate.
Even more problematic for our Union is the constant drumbeat of public employee bashing. There is a growing movement to blame public sector workers no matter what sacrifices we make. The ultimate goal of these attacks just isn’t to weaken our Union, it’s to eliminate us. Eliminate collective bargaining and union security and unions can’t survive.
We haven’t seen the bills as of this writing, but we will, along with bills to end our pension benefits. Our line of defense is the governor and the House of Representatives. But it begins with you. Your legislators will need to hear from you and your family during the next four months.
Please watch for these reports where we will bring you the details as they emerge.