MENU

WASHINGTON

Washington

  • In The News
  • Background
  • Issues
  • Solutions
  • Pensions
  • Commentary
    • Headlines : Washington

      State budget is only balanced on paper

      The News Tribune | by Jordan Schrader | April 17, 2014

      A new budget outlook projects the state to be in the black at that point by a bare $19.5 million, in a projected budget of more than $36 billion.

    • Headlines

      Rich States, Poor States

      ALEC | by Arthur B. Laffer, Stephen Moore and Jonathan Williams | April 15, 2014

      Using years of economic data and empirical evidence from each state, the authors identify which policies can lead a state to economic prosperity. Rich States, Poor States not only identifies these policies but also makes sound research-based conclusions about which states are poised to achieve greater economic prosperity and those that are stuck on the path to a lackluster economy.

    • Headlines

      Pace of pension reform ebbs after 49 states change laws

      Hazel Bradford | by Pensions & Investments | April 15, 2014

      While the sense of urgency has diminished, reform attempts have become a legislative staple, as public retirement systems continue to grapple with unfunded liabilities and political pressure to change.

    • Headlines

      State government dependence on federal funding growing at alarming rate

      The Washington Examiner | by David Freddoso | April 15, 2014

      This trend of increased state dependency on Washington reduces state and local control, while threatening the states' long-run autonomy.

    • Headlines

      Rebounding economy fills state coffers with record tax revenues

      Washington Post - GovBeat | by Reid Wilson | April 10, 2014

      State governments collected more than $846 billion in tax revenue in the last fiscal year, the highest amount ever reported, as a rebounding economy boosted coffers hit hard by the recession.

    • Budget timeframe: Biennial

      Fiscal Year begins: July 1 

      The current state budget can be found here, and the supplemental budget can be found here.

      Find the legislative session calendar here.

      Find the current legislative leaders here.

       

      WA Gov. GregoireGov. Chris Gregoire
      Office of Governor Chris Gregoire
      P.O. Box 40002
      Olympia, WA 98504-0002
      Phone: (360) 902-4111
      Fax: (360) 753-4110
      http://www.governor.wa.gov/

       

       

       

      David Schumacher, Director
      Office of Financial Management
      P.O. Box 43113
      Olympia, WA 98504-3113
      Phone (360) 902-0555
      http://www.ofm.wa.gov/
      ofm.budget@ofm.wa.gov

       

      Want a more robust, long-term look at your state's fiscal health, beyond the budget? There are two parts: Click here for the FY2012 Comprehensive Annual Financial Report (CAFR) compiled by the state government, and click here for information on the state's pension liabilities

       

      Washington is required to pass a "balanced budget." Section 43.88.033 of the State law mandates the budget shall not propose expenditures in excess of the statutory limit. Section 43.88.050 requires the governor to ensure anticipated revenues match estimated expenditures. Section 43.88.110(5) requires the governor to make an "across-the-board" reduction in allotments to funds to prevent any cash deficits due to projected cash deficits. Section 43.135.025 limits state expenditures to the previous year's appropriations limit plus the fiscal growth factor, which is the average growth in state personal income for the preceding ten years. In spite of these provisions, the State's Budgetary Comparison Schedules reported budget deficits (negative net transactions) for each of the three years examined. Washington law forbids the carrying over of a deficit from one year to the next.

       

      Washington is engaged in a practice called budgeting for fiscal discipline. Instead of the varying assumptions inherent in other states' budgets, Washington estimates revenue to grow at a fixed rate, and caps spending accordingly. While this system has varying degrees of success, keeping any shortfalls in revenue from getting out of hand, Washington also requires the budget document to conform to generally accepted accounting principles, as applicable to states.

      The State's major governmental funds are the General Fund, Higher Education Special Revenue Fund and the Higher Education Endowment Permanent Fund. Of the three major governmental funds, only the General Fund is budgeted. Some non-major funds are budgeted. But judging from the differences between actual and budgeted figures, it is likely that few of the total governmental funds are budgeted. Budgetary information within the Budgetary Comparison Schedules are not efficiently ordered and do not include the necessary "total" columns.  [from the Institute for Truth in Accounting]

       

      Find the state's bond ratings here.

      Evergreen logo

       

      Washington Policy Center Logo

    • Solutions

      How Reality-Based Budgeting Can Permanently Resolve State Budget Gaps

      State Budget Solutions | by Bob Williams | November 7, 2012

      State Budget Solutions recommends that state legislators take action in 2013 to resolve the serious state financial crises by changing their focus from inputs to outcomes by redesigning budgets from the ground up based on priorities and performance.

    • Solutions

      How to Prevent Future Pension Crises

      by Cory Eucalitto | November 1, 2012

      The time for state and local governments to offer defined contribution retirement plans that protect both taxpayer dollars and public employee retirement security is now.

    • Solutions

      State Lawmakerís Guide to Evaluating Medicaid Expansion Projections

      The Heritage Foundation | by Edmund F. Haislmaier and Drew Gonshorowski | October 17, 2012

      Supporters of Obamacare claim that expanding Medicaid will entail little to no cost to state governments, since the federal government will fund the vast majority of the additional costs. Indeed, some analyses project states achieving savings from adopting the expansion. However, state lawmakers should be wary of accepting such analyses at face value.

    • Solutions

      Medicaid Is BrokenóLet the States Fix It

      The Wall Street Journal | by Paul Howard and Russell Sykes | October 15, 2012

      Block-granting Medicaid is the best way to deliver better, cost-effective care to the most vulnerable Americans.

    • Solutions

      The Case for Reform: Prisons

      Right on Crime | August 1, 2012

      Prisons are supremely important, but they are also a supremely expensive government program, and thus prison systems must be held to the highest standards of accountability.

    • BLOG: K-12 Education, Spending, Budget Processes and Systems

      Setting the stage for the 2015-17 budget debate

      by Jason Mercier | March 20, 2014

      The largest policy spending increase in the Washington State supplemental operating budget is $58 million for "K-12 materials, supplies, and operating costs." While increasing spending subject to the balance sheet to just under $33.7 billion, lawmakers left an ending fund balance of $315 million, with total reserves, including the constitutionally protect budget reserve, of $897 million.

    • BLOG: Revenue, Budget Transparency

      Senate Ways & Means to act on revenue forecast reform

      by Jason Mercier | January 15, 2014

      The public should have an opportunity to participate each session on the bills being considered before a vote occurs despite their treatment in a different year.

    • BLOG: Budget Gimmicks, Spending

      Anatomy of a budget gimmick

      by Jason Mercier | January 8, 2014

      Some creative accounting that appears to serve no purpose but to try to circumvent the Washington State spending limit. Follow the bouncing ball to better understand the anatomy of the Governor's spending limit budget gimmick

    • BLOG: Spending

      2014 Washington state supplemental budget will need to keep state spending limit in mind

      by Jason Mercier | November 26, 2013

      State agencies have already submitted their 2014 supplemental budget wish list requesting a combined increase in spending of $895 million and 806 new FTEs.

    • BLOG: Budget Processes and Systems, Budget Transparency

      No more ludicrous speed lawmaking

      by Jason Mercier | November 11, 2013

      if a legislative proposal is good public policy, it will still be good policy after the public has a chance to read, understand and comment on the proposal.

    • Headlines : Washington

      State budget is only balanced on paper

      The News Tribune | by Jordan Schrader | April 17, 2014

      A new budget outlook projects the state to be in the black at that point by a bare $19.5 million, in a projected budget of more than $36 billion.

    • HEADLINES: Washington

      State budget is only balanced on paper

      The News Tribune | by Jordan Schrader | April 17, 2014

      A new budget outlook projects the state to be in the black at that point by a bare $19.5 million, in a projected budget of more than $36 billion.

    • Headlines

      Pace of pension reform ebbs after 49 states change laws

      Hazel Bradford | by Pensions & Investments | April 15, 2014

      While the sense of urgency has diminished, reform attempts have become a legislative staple, as public retirement systems continue to grapple with unfunded liabilities and political pressure to change.

    • Pace of pension reform ebbs after 49 states change laws

      Hazel Bradford | by Pensions & Investments | April 15, 2014

      While the sense of urgency has diminished, reform attempts have become a legislative staple, as public retirement systems continue to grapple with unfunded liabilities and political pressure to change.

    • Headlines

      State government dependence on federal funding growing at alarming rate

      The Washington Examiner | by David Freddoso | April 15, 2014

      This trend of increased state dependency on Washington reduces state and local control, while threatening the states' long-run autonomy.

    • Headlines

      Rich States, Poor States

      ALEC | by Arthur B. Laffer, Stephen Moore and Jonathan Williams | April 15, 2014

      Using years of economic data and empirical evidence from each state, the authors identify which policies can lead a state to economic prosperity. Rich States, Poor States not only identifies these policies but also makes sound research-based conclusions about which states are poised to achieve greater economic prosperity and those that are stuck on the path to a lackluster economy.

    • Headlines

      Rebounding economy fills state coffers with record tax revenues

      Washington Post - GovBeat | by Reid Wilson | April 10, 2014

      State governments collected more than $846 billion in tax revenue in the last fiscal year, the highest amount ever reported, as a rebounding economy boosted coffers hit hard by the recession.

    • Headlines : Washington

      Who is the leading budget reformer in Washington? Olympia, Washington that is

      State Budget Solutions | by Joe Luppino-Esposito | April 8, 2014

      Although Washington's budget debate was simpler than in past years, lawmakers kept Jason Mercier of the Washington Policy Center busy with fiscal reforms and budget gimmicks.

    • HEADLINES: Washington

      Who is the leading budget reformer in Washington? Olympia, Washington that is

      State Budget Solutions | by Joe Luppino-Esposito | April 8, 2014

      Although Washington's budget debate was simpler than in past years, lawmakers kept Jason Mercier of the Washington Policy Center busy with fiscal reforms and budget gimmicks.

    • Headlines

      Pew's latest pension report understates unfunded liabilities, but still shows growing pension problem

      by Cory Eucalitto | April 4, 2014

      While Pew's report relies directly on state-reported numbers that understate the size of unfunded liabilities, it nonetheless shows tremendous growth in unfunded liabilities since 2008.