Eli Sanders (SLOG) with video (46:54):
After she announced her drive for a half-cent sales tax increase yesterday, Governor Chris Gregoire was asked the above question by a reporter.Howie P.S.: "Why should the voters be willing to sacrifice for themselves if the state worker unions are not willing to do the same?" was the original question Gregoire was asked. Gregoire's defense of state workers comes at about 38:00 in the embedded video above.
In response, Gregoire, clearly pissed, gave an uncharacteristically tough defense of her "demoralized" state workforce.
"Wait a minute, wait a minute," Gregoire said, leaving the podium to grab a large chart that she could hold over the reporter's head. "I don't know how you can say that."
State workers are already sitting next to empty desks and having to do more because so many of their colleagues have been let go, Gregoire said. Now she's proposing to lay off another 1,500 state workers to deal with the current $2 billion budget shortfall. Plus, out of the $10.5 billion that's been cut from the state budget over the last three years, 19 percent of those cuts—almost $2 billion worth—have come out of salaries and compensation for state-employed K-12 workers. "They have stepped up," Gregoire declared, returning to her point that it's now time for voters to step up and approve a small, temporary revenue increase to pay for basic state services.
Watch the video and see a new Gregoire emerging, finally, as she heads into her last year in office.