Inslee orders hiring freeze, agencies prepare for 15% cuts

OLYMPIA, Wash. — Facing a reduction in projected state revenues of billions due to the coronavirus crisis, Gov. Jay Inslee has issued a directive freezing most hiring and signing of personal services contracts and purchasing of equipment.

The state’s budget office sent a letter to state agencies telling them to find ways to cut 15% from their current budgets.

The directive takes effect May 18.

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It has several exemptions, including for positions and contracts related to public safety, revenue-generating activities or those related to health and welfare activities of state government.

The freeze on equipment purchases does not apply to equipment that costs less than $5,000, is necessary to protect life or public safety and/or is funded by private or federal grants.

“While this is not going to be easy, I ask each agency to use common sense, good judgment and creativity to accomplish the ultimate goal of this directive to capture immediate savings,” Inslee said.

Click here to read the full directive.