Tag Archives: Washington State budget

Here’s how the two major state budgets differ

If you want a quick, spoken explanation of the differences in the House Democratic and Senate Republican budgets, Robert Mak has you covered.

Rachel La Corte from the Associated Press gave you a written explanation on Tuesday.

Senate Republicans offer a tuition cut and reject a collective bargaining agreement the governor’s office reached with state employees. The party then offers $1,000 per year to all state employees. A statement issued by the Washington Federation of State Employees argues that the Legislature can reject an agreement, but not make a new proposal.

“If contracts are rejected, the process calls for a return to negotiations. In this instance, Senate budget writers have by-passed our rights by instead authorizing flat raises of $1000 per full-time employee (prorated for part-time positions) per year of the two-year biennium. Under the collective bargaining statute, they cannot offer alternatives. In this case, the Senate has offered an alternative that is illegal under the law.”

State Sen. Jan Angel, R-Port Orchard, highlights the “no new taxes” feature of the Republican budget, making no mention of the state employee clause. State Sen. Tim Sheldon, the Potlatch Democrat who caucuses with the Republicans, also highlighted the “no new taxes” feature of the Senate budget, but also addressed the collective bargaining rejection. He said the budget, “Provides a flat $2,000 annual cost-of-living increase for state employees – meaning 25,000 state workers will see a larger increase than under agreements bargained between the governor’s office and public employee unions.”

Those were the only locals who commented.

Their full statements follow.

Continue reading

Have a whack at balancing the state’s budget

The Washington League of Education Voters has posted a program on its website that allows individuals to balance the state budget, or attempt to do so, from the comfort of their own living rooms or workplaces. The task, come up with $4.6 billion worth of cuts or revenue enhancements for the 2011-2013 budget. Items listed are those being considered by the Legislature.

I had a go, but in the interest of remaining an objective reporter, I won’t be sharing it with you. I will say that I balanced the budget, but I was not proud of my choices. I’ll admit I was drawn to to the larger ticket items, especially when my first effort, which I thought was pretty harsh, barely made a dent. Also, I’ll admit to being emboldened by the fact I knew this was just an exercise that will not have an actual effect on people, businesses and the environment.

I also noticed an absence of certain revenue-generating items that apparently aren’t on the table at this time, for example the hypothetical revenue from the sale of marijuana in state liquor stores. Rep. Mary Lou Dickerson, D-Seattle, on Tuesday filed a bill to allow this. A similar effort, also by Dickerson, failed last year.

Hey, I know a way to generate some revenue. They should market this program as a video game like The Sims, sell it to Facebook … call it “The Chopping Block” …

So, let us know how you do and what creative ideas you come up with. The program allows you to post a link to your plan. Attached is a primer on the budget process from the state’s Office of Financial Management on the 2009-11 biennial budget, which may come in handy as a guide.budgetprocess