60% of Washington’s budget (read: K-12 education and Medicare) is both constitutionally and legally protected from cuts. That means the projected $5 billion revenue shortfall in Washington’s 2011-13 budget will be carved out of $14 billion — a 35% cut. But legislators have another choice.
By putting tax exemptions and preferences — now worth $6.5 billion — under the microscope, state elected officials can prevent massive cuts to our public colleges and universities, ensure continued health care for low-income workers, keep parks and recreation programs open, and maintain other public priorities.
The League of Education Voters has released a handy new tool that allows you to balance the budget with a mix of spending cuts, new revenue options and the closure of numerous tax exemptions. And EOI has released an updated list of over $4 billion in budget-balancing recommendations.
So, how would you balance Washington’s budget?