Thursday, July 29, 2010

Governor to request new budget deficit tools

Next month Governor Gregoire will decide whether to call a special session or issue across-the-board cuts to deal with the state's current budget deficit. With the reluctance of lawmakers to agree to a special session (despite the request for one by Sen. Zarelli) the Governor will likely issue across-the-board cuts of between 3 and 5 percent. As we pointed our earlier this month, this option does not allow the Governor to leave a reserve meaning she could be forced to issue additional across-the-board cuts again in September and November depending on what happens with the state's revenue forecasts . . . READ MORE

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Senator calls for special session

With the prospect of Congress sending Washington another bailout all but dead the Senate's top Republican budget writer is calling on the Governor to call a special session to balance the budget. According to Senator Joe Zarelli a special session is the superior choice to issuing across-the-board cuts for the following reasons . . . READ MORE

Public records lead to big salary changes for officials in California city

In case you ever wondered the value of a robust public records law consider Bell, California as exhibit A. Using public records The L.A. Times discovered that several city officials in the city of Bell were taking home outrageous salaries . . . READ MORE

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

State Auditor weighs in on budget reforms

State Auditor Brian Sonntag has on op-ed in the Seattle Times today highlighting some of the long-term costs facing taxpayers as well as offering his ideas for budget reform. From the op-ed: "Our work at the Office of State Auditor uniquely positions us to understand the state's broad financial condition. For example, we know even in good economic times as well as bad, the state has not systematically funded all its long-term financial obligations . . . READ MORE

Monday, July 19, 2010

Governor wants your budget ideas

Governor Gregoire has launched a website where citizens can make their recommendations to reform the state's budget. According to her press release: Gov. Chris Gregoire today announced the launch of an interactive website that allows citizens to share, comment and vote on budget ideas. The most highly rated ideas by viewers will rise to the top of the list and be considered by budget writers . . . READ MORE

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Report on 2010 Tax Increases in Washington State

Washington Policy Center (WPC) has released a report detailing the tax increases passed during the 2010 Legislative Session. The Report on 2010 Tax Increases in Washington State provides a description of each tax increase and a breakdown of the ten-year burden each increase places on citizens. These tax increases will have a ten-year impact of more than $6.7 billion according to the state Office of Financial Management’s fiscal impact statements . . . READ MORE

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

New Jersey offers Washington budget roadmap

Next week the first of Governor Gregoire's budget reform hearings will be held in Tacoma (July 19) and Everett (July 21). These are to provide the public an opportunity to weigh in on the spending changes needed to help address the state's projected $3 billion budget shortfall. With the likely passage of Initiative 1053 and the reinstatement of the two-thirds vote requirement, real budget reform versus additional tax increases will be necessary. Thankfully it can be done as New Jersey has shown . . . READ MORE

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Special session is only option to secure budget reserve

Last week Governor Gregoire reiterated that if Congress doesn't provide the state with additional Medicaid funds (FMAP) by its August 9 recess she would be forced to call a special session or issue across-the-board cuts. This is because Washington assumed an additional $480 million in FMAP funds to help balance the budget this year. This is more than the $253 million ending fund balance meaning if the funds aren't approved the state's ending fund balance would be negative by more than $200 million . . . READ MORE