How bad would it be? Partial state shutdown looms unless budget passed by Friday

OLYMPIA — State lawmakers have less than a week to avert a partial government shutdown that would close state parks and disrupt other services, affecting thousands.

Gov. Jay Inslee on Wednesday called lawmakers back for a third special session, warning that time is running out before a shutdown this coming Saturday halts services.

The House and Senate have until midnight this coming Friday to reach agreement on a new two-year state operating budget.

If a new budget isn’t signed by that time, a partial shutdown starts the following day, on Saturday.

Notices went out last Thursday to about 32,000 state workers warning them they will be temporarily laid off if a budget is not in place by the deadline.

In a report released Wednesday, the state Office of Financial Management warned of a long list of impacts from a government shutdown.

Included in the potential impacts are:

State parks

An estimated 1.4 million day-use and overnight visitors would be affected due to closure of state parks.

State parks on the North Olympic Peninsula are Bogachiel near Forks, Dosewallips near Brinnon, Fort Flagler on Marrowstone Island, Fort Townsend and Fort Worden in Port Townsend, Anderson Lake State Park near Chimacum and Sequim Bay near Sequim.

Statewide, nearly 11,000 paid camping and overnight reservation holders for the first week of July would be notified of park closures and reservation cancellations.

As of May 25, statewide reservations included 10,262 campsites, 452 cabins and yurts, 121 group camps and 57 kitchen shelters.

Parks officials advise campers and others to keep any reservations in place so that if a budget is adopted by the deadline, they can proceed with their activities as planned.

In the event of a shutdown, any shutdown-related refunds will be automatically processed once state employees return to work.

Anyone who wishes to cancel now for any dates between June 30 and July 8 can do so by telephone to receive a full refund, but Parks officials warn that any reservation that is canceled will become available to others.

More information is available at parks.state.wa.us/223/Reservations.

State park partner organizations would also be affected. Centrum Foundation, which hosts art conferences at Fort Worden State Park, would have no camping availability for the annual Festival of Fiddle Tunes, July 2-9.

Because of an agreement between the state and Port Townsend Development Authority, the festival would go on even if a partial shutdown occurs.

But there would be no state park ranger or maintenance staff on hand, and state parks-operated facilities and camping would not be available for participants and guests.

State parks would lose at least $2 million in revenue from camping, overnight accommodations, Discover Pass and other usage fees between next Friday and July 7.

Department of Fish and Wildlife

Many recreational and commercial fisheries would be closed because staff would not be available to monitor, sample or account for the catch or enforce regulations.

Fishing and hunting licenses, Discover Passes and other documents would not be issued.

State wildlife areas and boating access sites would be closed.

Department of Social and Health Services

No staff would be available to connect more than 16,000 WorkFirst clients with resources and services to help them continue working or searching for a job.

An estimated 25,000 incapacitated adults would not receive basic cash or referrals to housing and other essential services.

More than 10,000 legal immigrants would not receive state-funded food assistance.

The state’s nine child support field offices would be closed, resulting in the loss or delay of about 6,000 cash, check and money order payments per month.

More than 50,000 older residents would not receive meal services.

Department of Corrections

Of the 8,500 employees working for the Department of Corrections, 3,400 would be temporarily laid off. About 5,100 employees would remain on the job to run the state prisons and perform other essential roles.

Supervision would be suspended for the majority of the 18,000 individuals now under community supervision.

Department of Veterans Affairs

All state Department of Veterans Affairs call centers and Veteran Service Centers would be closed. Veterans, their widows or widowers and family members would not have access to benefit specialists to assist them.

Department of Health

Public Health Laboratory services would be suspended or reduced for a number of life and safety issues, including testing of shellfish for toxins, environment-related health programs, marine water testing for recreational and commercial fisheries, assistance to HIV-positive individuals, issuance and renewal of health care credentials, and immunization support for health care providers and the public.

Department of Ecology

Almost 1,600 employees would be laid off temporarily at the Department of Ecology.

No one would be available to conduct state inspections of any type, including the Hanford nuclear cleanup site, or respond to oil and hazardous materials spills except in the most critical circumstances.

No personnel would be available to respond to any environmental complaints, except on an emergency basis.

There would be no collection of environmental samples from streams, rivers, lakes and Puget Sound.

Department of Commerce

About 2,200 WorkFirst participants would not receive services through state-contracted agencies.

Nearly 4,100 low-income people would lose help with utility payments for June because community action agencies would not be able to finalize or pay benefits on applications.

Payments to property owners for clients receiving rent assistance for about 7,100 adults and children would be interrupted.

Nearly 50 affordable housing projects under development and construction would be disrupted.

Washington’s Lottery

The lottery would be shut down until a budget is in place. Based on current sales levels, the state would lose $1.8 million in sales and more than $460,000 in revenue for every day it is shut down.

Department of Licensing

Individuals submitting professional license applications or other requests would face delays until staff can return to work. Consumers attempting to file complaints against licensed professionals or firms would have to wait.

Included in the licensing programs affected are real estate appraisers, home inspectors, real estate agents and firms, whitewater rafters, telephone solicitors, employment agencies and cosmetologists.

Department of Revenue

If a shutdown occurs, all business licensing activity will be suspended, putting at risk 30,000 renewals for July. It also would hamper new businesses from receiving their licenses and opening as planned.

Recreation and Conservation Office

A shutdown would halt work on 974 projects via grants to cities, counties, ports, tribes, nonprofits, state and federal agencies for outdoor recreation facilities, wildlife habitat conservation, working farms and forests and salmon recovery.

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