Last year’s wildfire havoc was the worst in state history. One million acres burned, costing the state $178 million. After last year’s wildfires state legislators approved several wildfire reforms directed at the State Department of Natural Resources. A tamer wildfire season could also provide financial relief for the U.S. Forest Service. Last year over half the entire USFS budget was spent fighting wildfires in states like Washington and California.
The state budget covers two years at a time, so why make budget writers look ahead further? It’s because the decade preceding 2013 often saw legislators propose or make spending choices that would balloon in the next budget cycle. That’s why we will push the next Legislature to ask voters to weigh in on a constitutional amendment we propose, requiring the state budget to balance across four years
We decided to build a computer game. It’s called “The Fiscal Ship” —and you can play it yourself at www.fiscalship.org. In short, winning the game means finding that mix of tax and spending policies that both achieve your big-picture goals for the country AND put the federal budget on sustainable trajectory.
The study also compared Seattle’s practices and spending with those of 11 other comparable West Coast police agencies and found that Seattle nears the head of the pack in overtime budget size, budget per capita, overall overtime spending and overtime overspending. The audit identified more than 400 records of duplicate payments for overtime in 2014 alone,
Your tax dollars help to make the lives of Washingtonians better. From college scholarships to affordable health coverage, public safety to parks, state investments from tax dollars serve the common good. These investments are essential to creating the kind of state in which everyone has the opportunity to thrive.
Washington Gov. Jay Inslee signed a supplemental budget on Monday that puts more money into the state’s mental health hospitals, pays for the cost of last summer’s devastating wildfires and spares the state auditor’s office from a budget cut. Republican Sen. Andy Hill, the Senate’s lead budget writer, estimated the vetoes make the budget unbalanced by more than $200 million in the four-year outlook, a projection made “specifically to impose discipline to have a sustainable budget.”