King County Job Cuts May Affect Health Care
POSTED: 5:23 pm PDT October 16, 2008
UPDATED: 6:18 pm PDT October 16, 2008
BOTHELL, Wash. -- The proposed King County job cuts on health services could potentially threaten the health and safety of thousands of residents.
Earlier this week, King County Executive Ron Sims said the county has a $93 million budget gap.
Part of decreasing that deficit is on the county's health officials to cut $19 million from their budget. More than 40 nurses are subject to being laid off, said the Washington State Nurses Association.
The Northshore Public Health Center has already stopped scheduling new immunizations. The center serves thousands of clients each year, including helping mothers through pregnancies and babies with healthy nutrition.
Without some financial help from the state, the center could be shut down next July 1.
"There are a lot of people in our community, should these reductions go into effect, who will not be receiving life-saving preventive services," said Public Health Director Dr. David Fleming.
Fleming outlined $19 million in proposed budget cuts, some of them taking effect Jan. 1, others next summer.
If the county cannot come up with the money needed, the Northshore center could close, along with a South County site in Kent, family planning services eliminated in White Center and at the North and Columbia Public Health Centers.
Also dental health programs in schools, nursing visits to child care centers and immunizations to fight disease could also be cut.
"We will reduce the ability to control the spread of tuberculosis, to prevent the spread of sexually transmitted disease, to identify and respond to epidemics -- for example, a restaurant with an E. coli infection or a meningitis outbreak in a school. These are very very serious reductions," Fleming said.
The Board of Health hopes to avoid the reductions by going to state lawmakers and asking for a stable, ongoing source of public health financing.
Some of the suggestions will include using property tax money or real estate excise taxes, a utility or motor vehicle excise tax. Other suggestions include a sales tax on alcohol, tobacco, insurance premiums or car rentals.
I don't think that would surprise many,
Look at Proposition 1, raises State sales taxes 1%, a 10% increase. If that doesn't mean much to you, you ain't paying attention.
They always cut programs that impact women and children first.
They want to make a big show of how much tx cuts hurt. Thats why they let felons out.