Gov. Gregoire Makes Education Top Priority, Demands Accountability and Results
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE—December 19, 2006
OLYMPIA—Governor Chris Gregoire today released her budget proposal for 2007-2009. Governor Gregoire’s budget reflects her commitment to world-class education, children’s health insurance and other top priorities including fiscal responsibility, quality health care and job creation.
“It is time to invest in our future,” said Governor Gregoire. “I have listened carefully to people in every part of our state and I hear again and again that people want good schools, family-wage jobs and access to affordable, quality health care. This budget makes changes families can count on and reflects the values of our state.”
Governor Gregoire has visited several communities across the state, talking to Washingtonians about state government priorities, performance and accountability. She has heard directly from citizens about their priorities and identified ways to measure if state government is working better.
Governor Gregoire’s nearly $30 billion budget will:
- Fundamentally change educational expectations, delivery and results with a substantial investment at all levels, from early learning through K-12 to higher education and job training;
- Provide health insurance for an additional 32,000 children who are currently not covered;
- Create jobs by investing in tourism, small business support, research, promotion of Washington products, infrastructure improvements and local and regional workforce training across the state;
- Keep family farms and forests profitable and productive;
- Target investments to protect and restore Puget Sound; and
- Safeguard savings in a Rainy Day Fund.
Governor Gregoire’s budget builds on the successes of her administration. Since elected, she has:
- Restored funding for voter-approved initiatives to reduce class sizes and provide more individual attention to students;
- Invested in early learning so Washington children arrive in kindergarten ready to learn and supported students struggling to meet academic standards;
- Spurred an increase of more than 154,000 jobs. Over half of these additional jobs are high-paying jobs in construction and professional services, such as employment and legal services, accounting, architecture and computer design;
- Made major progress toward ensuring every child has health insurance by 2010 -- when she took office nearly 6 percent of children had no health insurance and now only 4.4 percent are uninsured;
- Signed an $8.5 billion, 16-year transportation package, which was approved by the voters, to improve safety and cut congestion on Washington roads;
- Supported research and advancement on global health issues by creating the Life Sciences Discovery Fund;
- Created the Energy Freedom Loans to increase production and use of bio-fuels and reduce our dependence on foreign oil; and
- Set aside $947 million last year to help make pension payments, pay for growing health costs for children and low income adults, and continue to reduce class sizes in public schools.
The Governor’s proposed budget now goes to the Legislature for consideration.