Dear Friends and Neighbors,
As you learn more about the budget during the special session, please be mindful of numbers being thrown around. For example, the governor has been saying $10.5 billion in cuts have been made to the budget since 2008. The Associated Press did an analysis entitled, “Fact check: Has Wash. cut budget by $10.5B? Hardly.” The reporter explains that, “Many of the hundreds of cuts Gregoire and other Democrats have tallied are simply automatic spending increases that didn't end up happening.” Another fact not noted in the story is how state spending spiked from 2005 to 2009. In fiscal year 2004, our state was spending $12.4 billion per year. By 2009, that number ballooned to $16.1 billion.
I will do my best to provide you the most accurate facts and figures, so you can form your own opinions on budget reforms and tax increase proposals. Here's one you might find interesting: $2 billion. Our state will likely have $2 billion more in tax collections this budget cycle (2011-13) compared to the last one (2009-11). The chart below also shows this fact.
In a recent piece for the Spokane Business Journal, I talked about my experiences as a small business owner, encouraging economic signs and the need to pass sustainable budgets to provide employers with more certainty. As the chart below shows, our state has not done a good job of aligning its spending with its revenue (tax collections). Balancing the budget and strengthening our economy will be the focus of the current 30-day special session and the regular legislative session that begins in January.
I recently taped a short video on the topics of the economy, K-12 education and higher education. You can watch it here. Please let me know your thoughts.
It is an honor to be your state lawmaker. Please do not hesitate to contact me if I can be of assistance or if you have an idea to pass along.
421 John L. O'Brien Building | P.O. Box 40600 | Olympia, WA 98504-0600
360-786-7922 | Toll-free: (800) 562-6000