By most accounts the remarks made by Kathy Haigh last year recommending "crossing our fingers and hoping for the best" concerning Washington State's budget, have come to pass and the results are not good.
At this time the revenue forecasts are only 2.1 billion for the next two years not the hoped for 3.5 Billion. Those numbers are far apart and seem to be growing farther.
Dan Griffey shared-
"We need real leadership in Olympia. A sustainable budget was not passed this year. It was a wait and see...cross you fingers and hope for the best budget, that now is projected to be over 1.4 Billion short! We must honestly address the budget concerns and not rely on gimmicks to make it look better than it really is."
"This announcement underscores the need for state government to begin living under sustainable budgets. It is simply wrong to overspend in good times, adding billions in future spending without means to pay for it, and then cutting in bad times and not living up to promises our citizens have planned on."
Did we have warning that this could be the case? Yes. Was there something we could have done about it? Yes. Is it too late to address it? No.
Some of the options that should have been used, included:
No use of one-time money for ongoing programs
No transfers from other budgets
Strong reserve to meet unforeseen emergencies or revenue drops
Protect constitutional mandates
Transparency — no gimmicks
Utilize priorities of government
Reflect priorities of governing board
Minimize legal disputes
Seek efficiencies and reforms where cost effective
No new taxes
Restrict fee increases to benefit of payer
Provide flexibility in administration/ compliance
While we do have options for addressing the current shortfall, we would have been far better off if it had been addressed sooner rather than later, after all time is money.
The other issue we are facing is that the ones who voted in the unsustainable budget are the very ones who are now going to address it. Do we trust them to make the tough choices or are they just going to sell (tax) us another bill of goods?