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State union to Gregoire: Cut biz tax breaks first

OLYMPIA -- The Washington Federation of State Employees has an answer to Gov. Chris Gregoire's request to reopen their contracts and pay more for health care premiums.

It's not quite "hell no" or "drop dead" -- or something more colorful but less printable -- but it's pretty close.

"Before there’s any talk of taking more from the state workforce she must convene a meeting of corporate entities and ask them to take a 3% cut in any tax break they are already receiving from the taxpayers of the state of Washington," a message from WFSE Executive Director Greg Devereux, posted on the union's web site, says.

In an interview Wednesday evening, Devereux said the union feels state workers have borne their share of the cuts, a fact which the letter from Office of Financial Management Director Marty Brown basically acknowledges.

Gregoire and other state officials need to look out their windows at the Occupy Olympia protesters encamped on the park grounds below the Capitol, or take note of Occupy Seattle and Spokane demonstrations to realize public sentiment is shifting.

If the governor can convene a group of corporate leaders and get them to agree to giving up some of their exemptions, "we will be happy to come back to the table."

If not? "We have no interest in going back."

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Jim Camden
Jim Camden joined The Spokesman-Review in 1981. He is currently the political reporter and state government reporter in the newspaper's Olympia bureau office.

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