Most state offices close Tuesday in order to reduce costs

February 19, 2011

By Staff

NEW — 10 a.m. Feb. 19, 2011

Most state agencies close Tuesday as a cost-cutting measure, but not Department of Licensing offices.

Licensing offices open for regular hours Tuesday. Offices usually open on Saturday close Feb. 19 for Presidents Day and offices on a Monday-to-Friday schedule close Monday for the holiday.

The closures Tuesday impact dozens of other state agencies and commissions. The state Office of Financial Management has a complete list of shutdowns.

Officials shielded services critical to public health and safety — such as Child Protective Services and the Washington State Patrol — from office closures, although the shutdowns affect some business functions at the agencies.

The cash-strapped state hopes to save $70 million through the mandatory shutdowns. Lawmakers passed the legislation in April 2010, and Gov. Chris Gregoire then signed the bill. The shutdowns started last July.

Licensing officials closed the entire agency for five days in order reach the required $1.3 million budget reduction target.

“We worked hard to achieve these savings with the least possible impacts to our customers,” Director Liz Luce said in a statement. “Data showed that closing our offices for temporary layoff days had customer wait-time impacts that lasted for weeks.”

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