Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Taking the bounce out of borrowing

Because of a provision in the state constitution, the downturn in state revenues in the Great Recession also has severely crimped the legal ability of the state to borrow money – money that might be used for stimulus projects at a time when the economy could use a boost. But last week, a state commission recommended changing the constitution so the borrowing limitation isn’t tied quite so tightly to recent revenue fluctuations.
The current rule sets the state’s debt limit at a percentage of the annual average of general revenues in the previous three years.  The commission, whose membership includes Rep. Hans Dunshee of Snohomish, would calculate the average based on the previous six years, reducing the impact of busts (and booms) and making for a smoother ride from highs to lows. The commission recommended some other changes, too, designed to improve management of the state debt.

The Crosscut web site has written about the issue and the commission posted its report online.

To read this blog post in Spanish, go here.