Legislators Face Challenging Budget Picture

February 6, 2019

While revenue collections in the state continue to be strong, it appears that policy decisions made to fund future costs in the McCleary bill in the 2017-2019 biennium may limit the legislature’s ability to spend money on any additional policy items without new revenue or cuts in other programs. These future costs include about $4.1 billion of increased spending for K-12 education. In addition to the extraordinary K-12 costs, other costs include expected caseload increases, the loss of federal funding at Western State and the Trueblood decision regarding the state’s responsibility for forensic services. This budget picture is much direr than legislators expected coming into the 2019 session. We expect the Senate and House to release their versions of the budget in March. (Chelene Whiteaker, chelenew@wsha.org)


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