Governor’s “Book 2” Budget Still Emphasizes Cuts over Revenue
The Governor’s first budget proposal, released in December, took an imbalanced approach to responding to the effects of economic crisis by proposing deep cuts in vital state investments and no tax increases (see our analysis). It followed last year’s largely cuts-only budget that damaged the state’s ability to maintain Washington’s quality of life and allow it to prosper in the future.
On Tuesday, she released a second (“Book 2”) proposal in conjunction with her State of the State address. In that speech, she acknowledged the need for a better solution than her first proposal, saying “We must have a responsible, balanced approach of painful cuts and new revenue.”
However, as the graph below shows, her new proposal is far from balanced. She has proposed just over $100 million in new state revenue out of a $2.6 billion shortfall. And while the Book 2 budget makes fewer cuts to programs that ensure opportunity, health, and economic security, it still proposes almost $1 billion dollars in cuts.* Some examples:
- Investments in higher education will still be sharply reduced.
- Efforts to reduce class sizes in early grades will still be suspended.
- Financial and medical assistance through GA-U for people who are unable to work due to disability will be cut dramatically.
- Thousands of families would lose access to child care assistance.
While the Governor’s Book 2 budget is a small step in the right direction, a truly balanced approach would include a revenue strategy such as the one we outlined in our recent paper ""Increasing and Modernizing the Sales Tax."
*The fewer budget cuts that would be made under Book 2 compared to Book 1 would primarily be paid for with a potential extension of federal recovery funds and a federal waiver that would help pay for Basic Health.