Spin Control

Gov's office preps for shutdown, hopes for deal

OLYMPIA -- Mary Alice Heuschel, Gov. Jay Inslee's chief of staff, explains the effects of a state shutdown next week to reporters. (Jim Camden)
OLYMPIA -- Mary Alice Heuschel, Gov. Jay Inslee's chief of staff, explains the effects of a state shutdown next week to reporters. (Jim Camden)

Heuschel describes some effects of a partial state government shutdown to reporters Wednesday.

OLYMPIA -- Gov. Jay Inslee's staff tried to emphasize "tremendous concern" over a potential government shutdown that could be required next week without suggesting "the sky is falling".

 But they stressed there was no agreement yet on a 2013-15 budget which would eliminate the need for a shutdown. Although the predominantly Republican coalition that controls the Senate said late this morning that an agreement had been reached, other sides involved in negotiations called that premature.

"This came as a big surprise to the other parties," David Postman, the governor's spokesman, said. "They were negotiating at the time of the announcement . . These things happen. We all make mistakes."

Inslee's cabinet spent an hour Wednesday discussing the effects of a partial government shutdown in the event a deal is not reached, passed and signed by midnight Saturday, the final day of the current fiscal year. 

Mary Alice Heuschel, Inslee's chief of staff, emerged to offer a partial list of people being notified about the state services that could feel the impacts on Monday.  . .

19,000 children, undocumented immigrants who receive medical assistance through the state-funded Children's Health Program won't have that program as of July 1. They may, however, qualify for emergency services under the Alien Emergency Medical program in Medicaid. (Editor's note: A previous version of this post listed a different number, based on initial reports from the governor's office that were later updated.)

11,500 vocational rehabilitation clients for the Department of Social and Health Services won't have services covered.

"Hundreds" of electrical contractors won't have electrical inspection of their work on construction projects

7,000 reservations at state Parks for the first week of July would be cancelled

"thousands" of professional license applications and renewals would be suspended by the Department of Licensing.

Heuschel denied that this was an attempt to "tighten the screws" on budget negotiators, who have been locked in discussions over the state's general operating budget for weeks. The governor remains optimistic a deal will be struck in the coming days, she said, but the state needs a contingency plan.

"There's a tremendous concern this will occur," she said. "It's not 'Oh my God! The sky is falling.'"




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Jim Camden
Jim Camden is the Olympia bureau chief, covering the Legislature and state government. He also is a political columnist and blogger for Spin Control.

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