Tough times, painful choices

State budget cuts now being discussed in Olympia could be more than painful for Martha and Mary--they could be life-threatening.Our most vulnerable citizens, the elderly poor, deserve a better fate.

As we knew they would, the problems created by Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, subsequent Boeing and airline layoffs and failures have come home to roost in the state’s budget.

The recession in Washington is real, as are the needs to cut over $1.6 billion in state spending.

As lawmakers deal with the painful task of cutting budgets or raising taxes, the state’s social programs that help the neediest to survive are also facing cuts. Unfortunately, they are also facing the dual problems of increasing demand due to the recession and stricter state licensing requirements that cost more to meet.

Our own Martha and Mary long-term care center, an institution which has served our community’s children and seniors for 110 years, is already walking a budget tightrope. The possibility of a $1.1 million dollar budget cut could be life-threatening for the community’s oldest institution of social service.

The Senate will be grappling with budget problems, including proposed cuts to long-term care facilities next week. A letter or email to Gov. Gary Locke, Sen. Betti Sheldon, Rep. Phil Rockefeller, or Rep. Bev Woods certainly might help to be sure Martha and Mary gets all the help possible.

Wherever the budget cuts are made, they will be painful. Cuts to Martha and Mary and other long-term care facilities could be life-threatening and should be avoided if at all possible.

Almanac is in your paper today

Be sure to notice the copy of the North Kitsap Almanac inside your paper today. It’s a very special edition that honors the Herald’s history of 100 years of community newspaper service. It’s a true keepsake that’s filled with wonderful stories and photos of our communities and people. We hope you enjoy reading it as much as we enjoyed working with the Poulsbo/North Kitsap Historical Society to put it together for you.