Nov. 8, 2011 - The governor's office asked for the following clarification:
According to Scott Whiteaker, Communications Officer for the Office of the Governor, a long list of possible cuts was sent to the governor for review and from that list she selected what she felt could be trimmed from the budget.
Whiteaker said while school bus cuts were on that original list, they did not make the governor's final cut. He said she opposes the idea of cutting school bus transportation.
The entire list of proposed cuts that were sent to the governor is available online at the link below. Only the items with a star (*) beside them are the ones that the governor selected for consideration.
VANCOUVER, Wash. – Washington Gov. Chris Gregoire pulled school bus transportation from a list of proposed budget cuts Monday.
That idea was one of several to help close the state’s $2 billion budget gap.
Monday, the Democrat defended the state’s budget situation in front of students at the Clark County Skills Center in Vancouver.
“$2 billion from 8.7 is really hard,” said Gregoire. “I didn’t want to cut any of it but I surely didn’t want to cut education.”
17-year-old student Haley Taylor refused to believe the budget situation justified potential increases in class sizes, bus service cuts or shortening the school year.
“I can only speak for myself, but I feel that when you cut now you’re actually cutting our future,” Taylor said to the governor. “We deserve education as much as you did.”
“It seems like now we’re paying for your generation’s mistakes and we didn’t do anything,” said Taylor.
Gregoire replied that she’s simply in an impossible spot.
“I have people saying to me ‘don’t cut that’, and I agree with them. But the problem is, then what?” Gregoire asked.
The governor admitted Taylor is right.
“You know, it hurts to have a young student say ‘your generation got us into this mess’, but it’s true! And we need to take responsibility for it," Gregoire said.
The governor will submit her final budget proposal to state lawmakers later this month and said she hopes to have a final vote by the beginning of next year.
Taylor said she didn’t intend to personally blame the governor and she understands the position she’s in. Still, she feels there’s a better way to close the gap without affecting education.
“Especially where we’re such a small school and we don’t have business revenue,” said Taylor. “We’d have to ask for our community to pay for what is being lost.”