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Governor's Budget: A Reality-Based Proposal

Posted by Kim Justice at Dec 18, 2012 09:25 PM |
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The budget released this morning by Governor Gregoire acknowledges that it takes new resources to grow our economy and comply with our court-ordered mandate to fund basic education. This balanced approach puts us on a sustainable path towards creating jobs and prosperity for all Washingtonians. Without revenue, policymakers will be faced with making new job-threatening deep cuts to all other areas of state investments. 

The Governor’s proposal addresses a $900 million gap between our current needs and resources, and invests $1 billion in basic education. As the graph illustrates, the budget includes a mix of savings, reductions, transfers, and new taxes.  A few highlights include:

  • Repeal of tax breaks: $131 million in new revenue from the repeal of sales tax breaks on purchases of candy and gum, and eliminating a tax break on fuel used by oil refineries and lumber mills.
  • Extension of current taxes: $636 million in revenue from the extension of surtaxes on beer companies and service-industry businesses that were enacted in 2010.
  • New taxes: $424 million in resources from new taxes on soda and fuel sold at wholesale from oil refineries and distributors.
  • Health care savings: $140 million in savings from the expansion of Medicaid, which will provide over 250,000 more people with health coverage.
  • Suspension of previously-enacted policies: $384 million in cuts from the suspension of previously-enacted policies, including Initiative 732, which provides salary increases for teachers.

Governor pie 2013-15

As required by law, the Governor also put out a budget with no new revenue. The “Book One” budget is a stark example of how to fail at meeting Washington state’s needs by refusing to include revenue. If adopted, this budget would keep our state mired in a recession. It is clear that a budget without revenue is unsustainable and it is dangerous to our economy and our future. Under this scenario, the state would:

  • Eliminate food assistance for over 11,000 people.
  • Eliminate assistance for over 1,000 people who care for family members with developmental disabilities.
  • Cut over $50 million from our public universities and colleges, leading to further tuition increases.

We are just a few short weeks away from the beginning of the legislative session and the inauguration of Governor-elect Inslee. Legislators and the new governor should follow Governor Gregoire’s example and make sure that new resources are an ingredient in future budget proposals.  

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Budget Matters 2014

We are excited to announce this year’s Budget Matters 2014 Conference Program! We look forward to seeing you at the Washington State Convention Center on December 12, 2014.  See our detailed program with confirmed speakers here.

Legislative Testimony

Senior Budget Analyst Kim Justice recently testified before Senate Ways and Means against a bill that would fund education at the expense of other budget investments. Watch it here. 

Kim 5881

Budget Matters 2013

More than 300 people -- advocates, students, lawmakers, and policy experts joined us for our second annual policy conference. We heard from Heather McGhee, Jared Bernstein, and Governor Inslee.

Click here for video clips, photos, and PowerPoint presentations from the break-out sessions.

Our new video has highlights from the day. 

Heather McGhee