TACOMA, Wash. - Washingtonians are being asked to sound
off about the state budget at a series of four hearings beginning
tonight in Tacoma. You don't have to be an economist or a labor leader
to add your two cents' worth - or, in this case, two minutes's worth -
of testimony. Each meeting starts with a one-hour overview of the state
budget. In the second hour, citizen comments will be taken.
Marty Brown, director of the governor's Office of Financial Management,
says he knows the panel will hear a lot of complaints, but he hopes
there are also some good ideas for navigating the budget crisis.
"We're going to get down to some very tough decisions about what to
spend taxpayer dollars on and what not to. We need to hear from folks
about what they think is important to receive from the state, from the
taxpayer's perspective and from some people who receive those services."
According to Brown, the meetings are part of Gov. Chris Gregoire's plan
to examine every state service and decide whether it's essential,
whether it's being delivered cost-effectively and if it is getting the
Brown says these comments can influence what could be on the chopping
"We're going to have to end some services before this next budget is
passed, so there are going to be fewer things that state government
does. We need their guidance on what those things should be."
The governor's office is also adding a page to its website starting
today for people to post their own comments.
Tonight's meeting is at 7 p.m. in Phillip Hall on the University of
Washington Tacoma campus, 1900 Commerce St., Tacoma. On Wednesday night,
a hearing will be held at Everett Community College, Everett. Hearings
are also scheduled the following week in Vancouver (July 27) and Spokane