Friday, January 6, 2012

Stay connected throughout the legislative session

Most state legislatures will begin their legislative sessions in the next few weeks. Washington’s legislature will convene for a 60-day session starting on Monday. Among one of the top priorities will be to continue work balancing the operating budget.
The struggling economy has taken a toll on operating budgets all across the nation including right here in Washington. Unlike the federal government, our state government is required to approve a balanced operating budget. We cannot carry over operating debt from one biennium to another.
Requiring a balanced budget is good fiscal policy. But as a result of that requirement, we’ve had to cut over $10 billion in state operating expenditures in the last three years as revenues have not kept pace with demand for services.
Washington lawmakers convened for a special session in December to get a head start on the budget problem. About $500 million in “down payment” budget cuts and fund transfers were approved, but that was only the first step. There’s still a shortfall of about another $1.5 billion that must be addressed. The shortfall can be mostly resolved through reduced spending (budget cuts), raising revenue (tax increases), or some combination of the two.
We hope you stay connected with the House Democrats throughout the legislative session (and beyond) to stay current on budget and other discussions. We’ll do our best to keep you informed on the latest information. There are several ways to stay connected with us:
To read this story in Spanish, click here.