Yesterday at 6:00 pm, HCA Administrator Doug Porter sent out an email titled “Preparing for Special Session – Message To Our Stakeholders.” In that he discussed the difficult choices facing state government as Governor Gregoire looks to cut $2 billion in funds from the budget due to the continual economic decline.

“Together we’ve been through tremendous challenges, and the upcoming special session will present yet another major hurdle. Despite three years of cutting budgets, reducing and eliminating services, and transforming government, we face another huge task. With a $1.4 billion budget decrease projected in September and a November forecast that is likely to bring additional bad news, the Governor has prepared for a reduction of $2 billion. We will need at least that much to balance the budget and maintain a reserve.

Over the past few months we took ideas from agencies, from state employees, from constituents and from our policy and budget offices to prepare a detailed list of options totaling $4 billion. From that the Governor developed a list of $2 billion in reduction alternatives. Following the November 17 revenue forecast she will finalize her budget and present it to the Legislature. She has called lawmakers back for a special session starting November 28.

The alternatives she outlines are very difficult and will undoubtedly cause concern across the state. They are a bitter pill to swallow. Our long-term financial health will require decisive action.

The list of budget reduction alternatives and accompanying documents can be found here.”

He also attached a memorandum that went out to HCA staff.