Dozens of drivers and applicants for driver’s licenses found only locked doors Tuesday at Washington Department of Licensing offices, which underwent an unusual Tuesday closure because of state budget cuts.
A steady parade of cars, and even a few people on foot, arrived at the Spokane licensing office at 6519 N. Lidgerwood St. to find no one there, except other customers.
Joe Thompson, of Spokane, said he’s going to have to delay his departure for a motorcycle trip because he needs a motorcycle license endorsement to ride his bike legally.
“I need to take the test,” he said.
His visit to the Lidgerwood office was his second stop in an attempt to get the endorsement on Tuesday. He went to the Spokane Valley office first, 12801 E. Sprague Ave., and saw a steady stream of people showing up there, too – about 15 people in five minutes, he said.
A Deer Park man who didn’t want to give his name said he brought his 17-year-old son into Spokane to get his license so the son can work in Idaho. Now they must return another time.
About a third of the state’s work force was idled for a day this week as part of the Legislature’s effort to reduce state spending.
Most of the affected offices were closed Monday, but since licensing offices run on a Tuesday-through- Saturday schedule, they were closed for furloughs on Tuesday.
A notice was posted on the department’s website.
Allan Koch, of Ritzville, said he knew about the state furlough but didn’t realize the licensing office was closed Tuesday as a result.
This was just the first of 10 unpaid furlough days affecting 35,000 state workers, which will save $70 million.
Most state offices will be closed Aug. 6, Sept. 7, Oct. 11 and Dec. 27.
In 2011, the furlough days will be Jan. 28, Feb. 22, March 11, April 22 and June 10.
Health, child protection and public safety workers will not be furloughed.