Washington taxpayers are lucky to have a tough negotiator like Governor Christine Gregoire looking out for their interests as the State faces an epic budget crisis. Who can forget the deal she negotiated with the Indian Casinos? That was a classic, with the Casinos making an opening offer of $140 million a year and the State hanging tough until they’d managed to hammer that down to $0.
Now the Seattle Times is reporting that – after months of tough talk and posturing – Governor Gregoire has abruptly changed course and agreed that the State will pay 85% of health care premiums for State workers rather than the 74% she originally proposed. Currently the State covers 88% of the cost.
We know the Governor’s not very good with numbers (and who can forget her insistence during the 2008 campaign that there was no budget deficit?) I can understand that. Numbers aren’t really my thing, either but I didn’t campaign for a job where one of the requirements is presiding over multi-billion dollar budgets and negotiating tough contracts. If Gregoire can’t handle the negotiations without collapsing, she should delegate them to someone else.
For someone who projects all the warmth and softness of a harpy, it’s surprising when she crumbles…and for the taxpayers, it can be calamitous.