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What an All-Cuts Budget Really Looks Like

Posted by Kim Justice at Jan 08, 2013 12:35 PM |
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Washingtonians recently got a glimpse into what the state’s future could look like, and it was bleak. As Governor Gregoire recently laid out in her “Book One” budget, without new revenue, the state is looking at a $900 million gap between its current needs for health care, transportation and other services and the resources it can muster to pay for them. And, believe it or not, that’s a rosy scenario.

It ignores the $1 billion or more the state is also on the hook for to meet a court-ordered mandate to boost school funding. Throwing that into the mix shows that solving our economic problems solely by cutting important public services would be a disaster to the well-being of all Washingtonians and the state’s economy.

Fortunately, the Governor’s own proposal for the next two-year budget cycle, “Book Two,” recognized that it would take new revenue to meet the education funding mandate while maintaining other crucial investments in safe communities, good health, and economic security.

A budget that meets our current obligations and invests in public schools with no new revenue, as many lawmakers suggest we should do, would require over $2 billion in budget cuts.

all cuts

As the graph shows, such a budget would decimate many things Washingtonians value:

  • An affordable higher education: Policymakers would have to eliminate all funding to state four-year colleges and universities, along with financial aid for struggling students. That would mean even higher tuition costs for students, putting college out-of-reach for thousands of future workers.
  • Skilled and motivated teachers: We need to attract the best teachers in order to give our kids the kind of educational edge they’ll need to compete in the 21st century economy. Suspending teacher salary increases would greatly hamper our ability to attract the best and the brightest educators for our children.
  • Widely available early learning opportunities: Investments in early learning reap enormous dividends for our economy and promote widespread prosperity. Eliminating early learning would place thousands of our children at a disadvantage in later stages of their education. 

Governor Gregoire has it right— a budget that meets our needs and fulfills our constitutional obligation to public education must include new revenue.



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HIGHLIGHTS

Watch the Budget Matters Plenary 

View the Budget Matters 2016 conference plenary panel, "What's at Stake in the 2017-2019 Budget: Funding McCleary and Beyond," on TVW. Moderated by Ann Dornfeld of KUOW with a budget overview by our own Andy Nicholas, the panel features Nathan Gibbs-Bowling, the 2016 Washington State Teacher of the Year; Lew Moore of the Washington Research Council; Roxana Norouzi of OneAmerica; and Sen. Christine Rolfes. The plenary starts after a brief intro by Executive Director Misha Werschkul and an intro video by Gov. Inslee.

Our Legislative Agenda

Our agenda for the 2015-2017 biennium calls for an equitable, sustainable revenue system in addition to state investments that: promote a world-class education system; sustain a strong middle class; produce living-wage jobs, and ensure that all Washingtonians have equal opportunity to get ahead. 

Testimonies in Olympia

We testified in support of a number of important bills during the 2016 legislative session. Take a look:

  • Our testimony (at the 23:23 minute mark) on the House Bill that would take a two-generation approach to preventing poverty 
  • Our testimony (at the 1:54:09 mark) on the House bill focused on aerospace-related tax breaks
  • Our House testimony (at the 9:25 mark) and Senate testimony (at the 1:44:54 mark) on the two-generation approach to poverty prevention bill 

10-year design element 72 dpi