Last year, Republican State Senator Andy Hill—his party’s top budget writer—worked out a creative plan to extend services to a significant number of families on a “wait list for people with developmental disabilities who needed state assistance and who met the criteria to be deemed eligible.” Hill’s plan became known as the Vulnerable Individuals Priority Act (VIP Act) and would “adopt a new program that would bring additional matching federal dollars to the state.” Hill’s plan was celebrated among disability advocates. One told King5, “I’ve never seen anything like it in my 30 years of living here in this state. I am really excited about it. This is good government. This is people working together and this is people working together to identify a real need in our state … it makes me so proud about government.”
Unfortunately, Jay Inslee soon came along to shatter the celebrations. King5,
“Nine months after signing the bill into law, Gov. Jay Inslee submitted a budget for the 2015-2017 biennium that included slashing funding for the VIP Act in half. Instead of 5,000 more people getting services, just 2,500 developmentally disabled people would come off the wait list.
“Inslee’s budget shifted that money to other places, angering advocates.
“‘And he took 15 million [dollars] of it, and reversed something we’ve been trying to work on for decades. I was shocked. I still don’t understand why he would feel like he needed to do that.’”
“KING 5 asked Inslee that very question at a bill signing in May.
“‘A lot of tough budget decisions – we’re going to have to make sure in the end we have a good protective social safety net. Sometimes you move things around to provide safety in another area,’” he said.”
But, according to a new King5 investigation, Inslee was less than honest in his response. KING 5,
“KING 5 found one area where Inslee proposed the money should go — to caregivers represented by the well-oiled Washington Federation of State Employees. In other words, raises for some instead of providing direct services to families in need.”
In the end, Inslee chose to prioritize the demands of his special interest, million-dollar campaign donor over the needs of Washington families. Sen. Hill wrapped-up what happened perfectly, “What it really shows is what the priorities are. Budgeting is all about priorities. You’ll never have enough money to do everything. So clearly this was a lower priority than other things the governor wanted to fund in his budget.”
While Andy Hill thinks government should take of the most vulnerable in our society, Jay Inslee thinks government should take care of his campaign donors.