Governor Gregoire cut $51-million for Workfirst services - NBC Right Now/KNDO/KNDU Tri-Cities, Yakima, WA |

Governor Gregoire cut $51-million for Workfirst services

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KENNEWICK, Wash.—Governor Chris Gregoire cut $51-million for Workfirst services.

The budget cut hits five state agencies, but it still takes out a huge chunk for welfare programs. 

In the Workfirst program, applicants get money from the state, but they're forced to be actively looking for a job. 

It costs the state about $968 million a year.  But now services will see the pinch.  Eligibility will be harder for families, less money will be available for the job hunt, reduced child care support and less funding to help low-income families stay off welfare.  But that's not even the full list.

A DSHS employee tells us people are worried.  Are they going to get the help they need from Workfirst?

"Yeah know I just ask that people work with us to understand that these are tough choices.  These are tough changes and come together and help us go forward because this is the beginning the budget situation doesn't look any better than it does right now," says Troy Hutson, Social and Health Services."

The Workfirst caseload has increased by 30% in the last two years.