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Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

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In our new Policy Brief, the Budget & Policy Center offers a balanced approach to dealing with the recession's impact on the state budget. To maintain our economic competitiveness and essential services for struggling families, we recommend that policymakers generate additional resources by modernizing and temporarily increasing the state sales tax -- Washington's largest source of revenue -- and funding the Working Families Tax Rebate.

Our proposal would generate an additional $1.2 billion in resources that could be used to prevent further economically damaging cuts. The remaining deficit could be closed through a combination of additional revenue strategies, an extension of federal recovery funds, and one-time transfers and changes (including accessing the Rainy Day Fund).

It is important to note that tax increases under this proposal would remain a modest share of total actions taken to close shortfalls during the FY2009-11 biennium. The graph below shows that tax increases under the proposal would account for barely one-sixth of total measures taken to balance the budget over the course of the biennium. Budget cuts, federal funds, fund-transfers and other changes, would each constitute larger shares of total budget solutions.

Click here to read the entire report.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Washington has responded to our national recession thus far with
$3.5 billion in cuts. Facing a new $2.6 billion shortfall, even deeper
cuts are being proposed that would harm our ability to have an educated
workforce, a strong health care infrastructure, and economic security.

A more balanced approach is needed. One option is to modernize and
temporarily increase our state's major revenue instrument--the sales
tax—and pair it with the Working Families Tax Rebate.

For more detail on this proposal, see our new policy brief.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

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Cuts in the Governor's supplemental budget proposal combined with already enacted spending reductions would amount to a 23 percent drop in funding for programs that help people meet their basic needs.

According to a new analysis by the Budget & Policy Center, the Governor's budget would reduce state funding for programs that provide child care assistance to working families, eliminate the General Assistance - Unemployable program, which provides financial and medical support to people who are unable to work due to disability, and more.

The table below details the cuts in the Governor's supplemental budget in the area of economic security.

Monday, January 4, 2010

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The Budget & Policy Center recently released an analysis of the Governor's supplemental budget proposal that includes $1.6 billion in cuts to vital state programs and services. To read the entire paper, click here.

In the area of education and opportunity, the total budget cuts, including the enacted cuts and the Governor's supplemental budget cuts for the 09-11 biennium, would amount to a 14 percent reduction in spending from preschool to universities. Higher education and worker training would be hit particularly hard, with a 23 percent cut in total.

The table below details the Governor's proposed budget cuts in efforts to improve education and opportunity in the state.

Thursday, December 31, 2009

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Yesterday the Budget & Policy Center released an analysis of the Governor's supplemental budget proposal that details cuts in health and the environment, education, and economic security. To read the entire report, click here.

Every area of the budget has been affected by the enacted budget cuts and will continue to suffer under the Governor’s supplemental budget proposal. Taken together, the enacted cuts and the Governor’s supplemental budget proposed cuts include a 15 percent reduction in efforts to maintain healthy people and a clean, safe environment.

The tables below detail the budget cuts in the area of healthy people and the environment. These cuts span public and environmental health; child and family services; health insurance access and affordability; and long-term care, developmental disabilities, and mental health. In the following days, we will continue to highlight specific cuts in areas throughout the Governor's budget proposal.

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Today the Budget & Policy Center is releasing an analysis of Governor Gregoire's supplemental budget for the FY09-11 biennium. For the second year in a row, the Governor’s budget proposes deep cuts to core public services in response to the continuing economic and fiscal crisis in the state. Combined with the cuts already enacted in the current biennium, the Governor’s supplemental budget proposal would result in a nearly 14 percent reduction in the state’s investments in education, health care, and economic security.

The damage to our education system, health care infrastructure, public safety, and environmental protections would impact all Washingtonians. The Governor’s supplemental proposal would also create immediate harm for many. For example:

* Over 65,000 people will lose access to affordable health insurance;
* 16,000 children will lose health insurance coverage;
* Over 20,000 people who are unable to work due to disability will lose financial and medical assistance;
* 12,300 students from lower income families will lose an important source of financial aid;
* 10,000 working families per month will lose child care assistance;
* 1,500 three-year-olds will lose access to early learning opportunities.

Relying heavily on deep cuts represents one potential approach to the budget shortfall. Over the coming months other ideas will be presented, including more balanced approaches that propose raising revenue to avoid drastic cuts that will harm our state’s residents and economy.

Click here to read the entire paper and come visit us at our new web site,

Friday, December 18, 2009

Federal fiscal relief to states is set to expire at the end of 2010, but state fiscal shortfalls (including Washington State's) are expected to last into 2012 or longer. A new round of fiscal relief could help offset the damaging cuts proposed in the Governor's recent budget and provide a boost to the recovery. In order to be of use to Washington State, Congress must act soon so these funds can be included in the budget process.

In Washington State, there has been record drops in state revenue at the same time as dramatic increases in the need for public structures that provide health care, economic security, and job retraining. We are not alone. At least 38 other states have mid-year deficits that have opened up after balancing their budgets earlier this year (more detail). The actions that states must take to close these deficits could cost the economy as many as 900,000 jobs.

In the last round of deficit-closing, most states including Washington State relied heavily on federal fiscal relief. These funds helped stave off even deeper cuts in health care and education and provided a boost to the economy. The graph below shows how much of the total state fiscal gap was closed through federal recovery funds. It also shows how deficits continue into fiscal year 2012, after the federal relief has ended.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

The table below lists key budget cuts in education from the Governor's proposal released last week. (Click on it for a larger version.)