A Structurally Balanced Budget
Christine Gregoire, in a decidedly non-partisan and common sense policy move, pushed for a Rainy Day Fund (RDF) in 2006. (Ironically, she had the most trouble from her own political party.) She stressed the need to build up reserves when times were good, to feel secure knowing there is extra money available to meet basic needs, if times suddenly turn bad or disaster strikes."
It was very prescient reasoning.
In 2011 the Washington State Budget and Policy Center laid out a road map for emerging from the Great Recession. Adopt a policy to increase RDF contributions, especially during periods of tremendous economic growth, to 3.5% of the operating budget.
Again, it was very prescient reasoning.
Had fundamental and easy guidelines been followed, our Rainy Day Fund could have been in excess of $10 Billion, instead of remaining stagnant, for 8 years, below $2b.
Why can't we work together?!
Former Governor Gregoire, a Democrat, and State Treasurer Davidson, a Republican, have both advocated for a robust RDF.
Both Democrats and Republicans have called for Best Budget Practices - efficiency in spending while growing contingency funds for emergencies.
After 3 consecutive biennial budgets close to 70 billion, revenue to the State's coffers exploded:
2013-17 $ 83 Billion
2015-17: $ 92 Billion
2017-19: $107 Billion
2019-21: $121 Billion
RDF? Our Rainy Day Fund has remained below $2 Billion this entire time.
To put that in context, during the current, historical unemployment crises brought on by Covid, Washington State has paid out 2.5 billion through the first 6 weeks.