Over 3 budget years from 2009 to 2011, Washington State has dealt with a $12 billion shortfall between the projected need for public services and state revenues – which have plunged because of the recession. Federal stimulus money and the rainy day fund made up some of the difference, and the state raised $918 million with tighter standards and new taxes. Still, Washington’s legislature has cut $5.2 billion, impacting schools, childcare centers, health clinics, assisted living facilities, families, and individuals across the state.
Despite continued population growth, inflation, and increased needs caused by the recession, Washington’s 2-year General Fund budget for 2009-11 is barely above the 2005-07 level and $2.7 billion below the amount originally budgeted for 2007-09 – an 8% drop.
Washington’s “Near General Fund” Biennial Budget, 2005-11
More budget cuts are being made. Recovery from the national recession slowed over the summer. As a result, state tax receipts have continued to fall below expectations. Revenues for the 2009-11 budget, which runs through June 2011, now are projected to be $770 million less than expected last spring. The state will have to cut – or raise – an additional $516 million in the current budget to prevent a deficit. Governor Gregoire has asked all state agencies to prepare to implement further across-the-board cuts of 6.3% October 1, 2010.
The 2011-13 budget which the legislature will adopt when it returns to Olympia in January 2011 is expected to have a hole of $4.5 billion in addition to all of the reductions already made.
Want to read more, view citations, or see full size graphs? You can find the full brief (from which this post was excerpted) here: Why I-1098 is Right for Washington ».
Looking for more information about Initiative 1098? Visit the Economic Opportunity Institute website.