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Coming state budget cuts will top 6 percent

Post by Jordan Schrader / The News Tribune on Sep. 16, 2010 at 12:48 pm with 17 Comments »
September 16, 2010 12:49 pm

Today’s highly anticipated state revenue forecast is dire, and it confirms what state officials have been saying: More deep spending cuts are coming.

With the economy stagnant and tax collections down, this year’s projected revenue has dropped by $770 million just since June. That leaves Gov. Chris Gregoire to cut $516 million from the state budget, which amounts to more than 6 percent of each affected agency or program.

Most of the cuts will fall on health and human services.

Since the cuts will be made over nine months, Sen. Joseph Zarelli said they will really amount to nearly 9 percent of agencies’ spending in that period.

Zarelli and other Republicans say the Legislature should come back into session this fall to grapple with the problem. The Legislature can pick and choose which programs to cut, while the governor is only authorized to cut across the board. Those in the Democratic majority, like Rep. Ross Hunter, say the Legislature would take too long to come to a consensus over what to cut.

Lawmakers won’t avoid having the problem fall into their lap, only postpone it until after election season. The Legislature will be back in Olympia in January, and whoever’s in charge will have to decide right away how to tweak Gregoire’s cuts.

Then the real work begins, as they write a 2011-2013 budget facing a shortfall that today’s forecast pushed to roughly $4.5 billion.

Leave a comment Comments → 17
  1. the3rdpigshouse says:

    Socialism for Washingtonians is “EXPENSIVE!!! Fire all the socialist democrats in Olympia and all RINO’s!!!

  2. nonstopjoe says:

    How does 6% compare with the percentage increase in the budget over Gregoire’s reign?

  3. tortoise says:

    too little, too late

  4. tree_guy says:

    Does this mean that when Rossi warned us about looming Washington State budget problems two years ago he was telling the truth and Gregoire was lying?

    This can’t be so, I remember she said there was no deficit!

  5. Proconsul8 says:

    This is 80 years of redistributionist government coming home to roost. Been going on in America since Woodrow Wilson. And it ain’t gonna go away without a fight. So, the cuts proposed are designed by those that cannot believe their paradigm is not only shifting but dying a screamingingly fast death. Gonna get uglier yet, folks. Question is – how many are going to say no to nanny-government-knows-best solutions that rob Peter to pay Paul?

  6. newshound100 says:

    Gee whiz are we all suprised ? You could see this coming years ago . The state unions run this state . We just happen to live here.

  7. the3rdpigshouse says:

    Having lived all over the U.S. and many countries, I can say from experience that Washington consists of the most ignorant electorate one could muster in one State!! Wake up people and vote the socialist democrats and the RINO’s out of office!!!

    The Washington State electorate is soooo THINKS ITS STREETS ARE THE LOCAL TRASH BRECEPTACLE!!!

  8. the3rdpigshouse says:

    Correction – sooo ignorant that they believe the local streets are their personal trash receptacle!!!!

  9. I can’t believe how people are celebrating this recession. It’s almost like they are excited that our most vulnerable, are going to suffer.

    I don’t know what’s happened to this country but it doesn’t feel like the one I grew up in.

  10. truthbusterguy says:

    There is only one way to cause efficiency to happen in government. TAKE AWAY THEIR MONEY! This should have happened years ago but the democrats are owned by the unions and tribes and when they tried they were threatened to be cut off from their money. Can’t you see that unions are the cancer in this country? Every problem, in every state, be it in education or state governments, the unions are the root of all evil. Now that unions get all their dues from public workers it’s high time to break them.
    Across the board cuts are a start but the state will be sure to make cuts that hurt the taxpayer and make many want to support more tax. Don’t fall for this old trick. Demand they cut management, follow recommendations from state audits. Yes, we have mandated audits but departments don’t ever follow the advice.

    Just look at the Pierce county building dept. Housing and permits down 50% but they have not laid off one inspector and you still have to wait for a building inspector.
    It’s time we reinvent government, make it smaller, bust all unions for state workers, and balance the budget. All needed to save the state.

    Dim bulb Patty can’t bail them out again. The bucket is dry. Vote for the infinitives that cut taxes & fees plus replace the restrictions of I-1053. Force them to tighten their belt. You have, now it’s their turn.

  11. Easy, go back and look at the 2004, pre-Gregoire budget created and operated by two term Democrat governor Gary Locke. Then Identify all the newly created agencies, entitlements, programs and non-inflation based budget increases and eliminate them entirely. We lived without them during 8 years of Locke, so what makes them so hard to live without today?

    That should get rid of about $10 Billion in extra spending created by Gregoire and the Dems since her election that they are now clutching dearly to in the face of a $2-4 Billion deficit. The ‘queen’ was right in one respect when she said the state’s revenue was in good shape prior to her reelection in 2008: the amount of revenue received by the state is just fine, it’s the overspending started in 2005 that is outstripping the income. Get rid of that extra $10 Billion in useless spending she and the Dems created and we’re back to the $6 Billion surplus that existed before she was elected.

  12. truthbusterguy says:

    I have one thing to say to tck512, Your hired!!!!!

  13. What extra $10 billion are you talking about?

  14. derekyoung: What extra $10 Billion?

    Answer: the $10 Billion added to the state budget expenditures starting in 2005 (when Gregoire was first elected) up until 2010. The budget from 1998 to 2004 under Locke was consistently at or under $25 Billion (increasing only a total of 6% between 2001-2004). But, since Gregoire has increased signficantly every year until reaching $33 Billion in 2008 (a 40%, $8 Billion increase in just her first four years in office) and has since grown to the 2010 level of $36 Billion, an overall increase in spending of 44% ($11 Billion) in less than six years.

    Source: Office of Financial Management; Washington State Fiscal Summary

  15. You’re looking at the numbers prior to the recession. They’ve already cut several billion from that. Current 2009-11 budget calls for $29.4 per annum Operating Budget. There’s not an extra $10 billion left, or $8 billion for that matter.

  16. Excuse me, that was supposed to say $29.3b

  17. Sure, pre-2007 figures are prior to the recession, what has that to do with the fact our state’s expenditures are climbing at unprecedented rates both before (2004-2007) and then in the face of a known economic downturn? You can’t simply ignore the nearly $5 Billion Capital Expense budget to try to make the governor’s excess spending look good (or even slightly better).

    The Operating AND Capital budgets keep increasing annually regardless of the recession, whereas they should be going DOWN to reflect reduced spending as fewer revenues are forecast and actually received..

    The current budget (as passed for 2009-2011) for BOTH Operating and Capital expenses IS, in fact, $36 Billion. The Capital expenses alone have increased by double since 2004, from roughly $2.4 to $4.7 Billion. The Operating budget has increased from $23.5 to $32.2 Billion, a $9 Billion and 39% increase over 6 years. And not ONE year’s budget, even after the start of the recession in 2007-2008, has ever been the same as, let alone less than, the previous year’s.

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