“Windows into the Budget” is a series designed to inform and engage the public about critical budget issues in Olympia. It is intended to be objective, factual, and hopefully bring clarity to complicated public policy.
There is a myth, propagated by the Governor and others, that Washington faces a massive budget deficit, meaning that the state has insufficient revenues to continue existing services. This myth began in the summer with a Governor-initiated exercise asking agencies to propose 15% budget cuts, continued in the fall with a presentation around the state by the Governor’s budget director, and was repeated during the Governor’s December budget release.
This deficit assertion is meant to mislead, directing people to the erroneous conclusion that Washington has insufficient revenues to continue its current service levels and that significant cuts (see the Governor’s 15% reduction exercise) or tax increases (see the Governor’s actual budget) are needed.
Let’s look at the facts, rather than misleading hyperbole: