Analyzing the claims: Share of state resources devoted to public services has actually gone down
Despite the claims being made by Initiative 1107 and Initiative 1053’s proponents, Washington actually devotes a smaller share of its resources to public services like education and health care than a decade ago. And given the magnitude of the recession, the state will likely continue to devote a smaller share of its economy to public services than before.
Typically, economists measure changes in government spending over time by analyzing how much of a state’s total personal income – or the sum of its collective resources – goes for public services. But as the graph below shows:
- The share of our resources that are spent on education, health care, public safety, and other important services has actually dropped since the late-1990s;
- As of June 2010, state spending in the current 2009-11 biennium is projected to fall to about 5.4 percent of total personal income in Washington – lower than the 6 percent share that went for public priorities the late-1990s.
This percentage will decline even further due to the recently-announced, 6.3 percent across-the-board budget cuts.
In other words, a smaller share of our collective resources is going to public priorities like educating our kids or providing health care than before.
And it is declining.
To read more about the issue, please see our policy brief.