As a result of the Great Recession, Washington state has taken a significant step backward in funding the key areas that preserve our quality of life and economic prosperity.
The current budget (2009-11 biennium) will spend 10 percent less than the amount necessary to maintain our previous commitments in education, communities, health care, and economic security.
As the graph shows, the cuts already made have meant:
• Investments in education and opportunity- from preschool to universities – have been cut by 11.3 percent. This, despite the fact that broadly available education and opportunity is fundamental to the future of our state.
• Programs that create thriving communities- such as public safety and balanced economic development – have been cut by 7.3 percent. Public investments that maintain our state infrastructure and protect our natural resources create thriving communities. Public structures such as transportation, communications, justice, and the arts keep our state economy in motion, our neighborhoods safe, and our cultural life vibrant.
• Efforts to ensure the health of people and our environment have been cut by 9.3 percent even though good health allows people to participate in the social, economic, and cultural opportunities of their community. And healthy environment ensures food, water, and recreation without fear of pollution or toxins.
• State spending on supports that provide economic security has been reduced by 9.7 percent. Supports such as child care and health care are often needed to make employment practical and possible. For those who can’t work or have lost their jobs, help is sometimes needed to meet basic needs.
These figures do not include the impact of several ballot measures
this fall that would further reduce resources for critical priorities. The
passage of measures like Initiative 1107 (affecting common and
reasonable taxes on unessentials like candy, gum, bottled water and
soda) or of liquor deregulation Initiatives 1100 and 1105 would come on
top of the cuts that have already been made.
The report uses the Budget & Policy Center’s Progress Index, created to track how well the state does in key areas that determine our quality of life and values.
Please see the entire paper here.