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State budget hearings start in Tacoma

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE — July 14, 2010

Governor’s Committee on Transforming Washington’s Budget to hear from budget staff, citizens

OLYMPIA – To help develop Gov. Chris Gregoire’s budget for 2011–13, the Office of Financial Management has scheduled a series of four hearings to present information on the governor’s priorities and to solicit input from citizens, who are invited to attend and testify. The first hearing is set for Monday, July 19, 7–9 p.m., at the University of Washington-Tacoma’s William W. Philip Hall at 1900 Commerce St.

A number of members of her Committee on Transforming Washington’s Budget, a panel of nearly three dozen leaders drawn from across the state from a number of fields, will be in attendance at each session. Their role is to question and serve as a sounding board for the governor and her budget staff.

Committee and audience members will hear brief presentations from OFM budget analysts for each of the six value areas in the budget for the first hour of each hearing. The second hour will be set aside for citizen comment.

“As difficult as the past two legislative sessions have been, the 2011 session will be even more challenging as the economy is still recovering,” Gregoire said. “Forty-six states have faced — or still face — budget deficits, so we know that Washington is not unique in adapting to an uncertain economy. But we can make Washington unique by how we construct our next budget.”

The governor announced her plan last month to transform how the state budget is built. OFM will layer the Priorities of Government, or POG, process with an additional filter of eight questions to determine the most essential government services, whether they are being delivered in the most cost-effective manner and whether they are yielding results.

“The usefulness of POG is that starts with a zero base and adds only those services that are identified as mission critical,” said OFM Director Marty Brown. “By starting from scratch, we ensure that every program demonstrates its worth to Washington’s taxpayers. The governor’s eight questions add another dimension of rigor.”

Given the number of citizens expected to attend, those who offer testimony will be asked to limit their comments to two minutes to accommodate others who wish to speak. Written testimony will be accepted. Comment cards will be available for those who desire to provide input but do not want to speak. OFM will launch a website at noon, July 19, for those who wish to comment online or review ideas posted by others.

Materials related to the hearings and the ideas site will be available at http://www.governor.wa.gov/priorities/budget/default.asp at noon, July 19.

OFM has prepared a report on the new budget process, now available at http://www.governor.wa.gov/priorities/budget/transformbudget.pdf.

TVW will tape the Tacoma and Spokane hearings for replay at later dates. Visit http://www.tvw.org/index.cfm?bhcp=1 for more information.

The hearings schedule is as follows:

July 19
7–9 p.m.
University of Washington-Tacoma
William W. Philip Hall
1900 Commerce St.
Tacoma
July 27
7–9 p.m.
Administration Building, Room 110
Washington State University-Vancouver Campus
14204 N.E. Salmon Creek Ave.
Vancouver
July 21
7–9 p.m.
Everett Community College
Parks Building, Multi Purpose Room
2000 Tower St.
Everett
July 29
5–7 p.m.
Spokane City Hall
City Council Chambers
808 W. Spokane Falls Blvd.
Spokane

Contact:  Kate Lykins Brown, Office of Financial Management, 360-902-0619