Washington state budget and finances

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Washington budget and finances
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General information
Budget calendar:
Biennial
Fiscal year:
2015
State credit rating:
AA+ (as of 2014)
Current governor:
Jay Inslee
Financial figures
Total spending (state and federal funds):
$34.3 billion (estimated for 2014)
Per capita spending:
$4,853.48 (estimated for 2014)
Total state tax collections:
$18.7 billion (2013)
Per capita tax collections:
$2,676.76 (2013)
State debt:
$89.6 billion (as of 2014)
Per capita state debt:
$12,988 (as of 2014)
State budgets and finances
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Total state expendituresState debtTax policy in Washington
Note: This page utilizes information from a variety of sources. As such, the currency of the information varies somewhat. The information presented on this page reflects the most recent data available as of February 2015.

Between fiscal years 2013 and 2014, total government spending in Washington increased by approximately $1.9 billion, from $32.4 billion in fiscal year 2013 to an estimated $34.3 billion in 2014. This represents a 5.9 percent increase. The cumulative rate of inflation during the same period was 1.58 percent, calculated using the Consumer Price Indices for January 2013 and January 2014. As of 2014, financial services firm Standard and Poor's had assigned Washington a credit rating of AA+.[1][2][3]

In Washington in 2013, total state tax collections equaled $18.7 billion. Per capita tax collections totaled $2,677.

Spending

Definitions

The information below comes from the National Association of State Budget Officers (NASBO). These spending figures are broken into three broad categories in order to facilitate comparison between the states.[3]

  • State funds: State funds include general and other state-based funds. A general fund is "the predominant fund for financing a state's operations." Other state funds are "restricted by law for particular governmental functions or activities."
  • Federal funds: Federal funds are "funds received directly from the federal government."
  • Total spending: Total spending is calculated by adding together the totals for state and federal funds.

These figures exclude spending from the sale of bonds.

2014 expenditures

See also: Total state expenditures

The table below breaks down estimated spending totals for fiscal year 2014 (comparable figures from surrounding states are included to provide additional context). Figures for all columns except "Population” and “Per capita spending" are rendered in millions of dollars (for example, $2,448 translates to $2,448,000,000). Figures in the columns labeled "Population” and “Per capita spending" have not been abbreviated.[3]

In Washington in fiscal year 2014, estimated total government spending equaled $34.3 billion.

Total estimated state spending, FY 2014 ($ in millions)
State State funds Federal funds Total spending Population Per capita spending
Washington $25,171 $9,102 $34,273 7,061,530 $4,853.48
California $140,239 $81,059 $221,298 38,802,500 $5,703.19
Nevada $5,903 $2,823 $8,726 2,839,099 $3,073.51
Oregon $20,175 $8,090 $28,265 3,970,239 $7,119.22
Per capita figures are calculated by taking the state's total spending and dividing by the number of state residents according to United States Census estimates.[4]
Source: National Association of State Budget Officers

Spending by function

See also: State spending by function as a percent of total expenditures
Breakdown of spending by function in FY 2013
Source: National Association of State Budget Officers

State spending in Washington can be further broken down by function (elementary and secondary education, public assistance, etc.). Fiscal year 2013 information is included in the table below (information from neighboring states is provided for additional context). Figures are rendered as percentages, indicating the share of the total budget spent per category.[3]

In Washington in fiscal year 2013, K-12 education accounted for 23.4 percent of total spending, a greater share than in any neighboring state.

State spending by function as a percent of total expenditures, FY 2013
State K-12 education Higher education Public assistance Medicaid Corrections Trans-
portation
Other
Washington 23.4% 14.3% 0.9% 11.9% 2.7% 8.9% 38%
California 21.4% 6.6% 3.9% 25.1% 5% 6% 31.9%
Nevada 22.3% 8.5% 0.6% 22.7% 3.2% 7.4% 35.3%
Oregon 14.3% 1.1% 0.7% 21.4% 3.9% 6.1% 52.6%
Source: National Association of State Budget Officers
Note: "Other" expenditures include "Children's Health Insurance Program (CHIP), institutional and community care for the mentally ill and developmentally disabled, public health programs, employer contributions to pensions and health benefits, economic development, environmental projects, state police, parks and recreation, housing and general aid to local governments."[3]

Spending trends

Between 2009 and 2013, the share of the Washington state budget spent on Medicaid decreased from 21.4 percent to 11.9 percent. See the table below for further details (figures are rendered as percentages, indicating the share of the total budget spent per category).[3][5][6][7][8]

Spending by function from 2009 to 2013 (as percentages)
Year K-12 education Higher education Public assistance Medicaid Corrections Transportation Other
2013 23.4% 14.3% 0.9% 11.9% 2.7% 8.9% 38%
2012 22.9% 17.8% 1.0% 12.1% 2.7% 8.4% 35.1%
2011 23.3% 14.2% 1.4% 23.5% 2.9% 8.3% 26.3%
2010 24.4% 13.2% 1.4% 23.0% 3.2% 9.1% 25.8%
2009 24.6% 13.3% 1.2% 21.4% 3.4% 8.0% 28.0%
Source: National Association of State Budget Officers
Note: "Other" expenditures include "Children's Health Insurance Program (CHIP), institutional and community care for the mentally ill and developmentally disabled, public health programs, employer contributions to pensions and health benefits, economic development, environmental projects, state police, parks and recreation, housing and general aid to local governments."[3]

Revenues

2013 revenues

See also: State government tax collections by source

The table below breaks down state government tax collections by source in 2013 (comparable figures from surrounding states are also provided to give additional context). Figures for all columns except "population" and "per capita revenue" are rendered in thousands of dollars (for example, $2,448 translates to $2,448,000). Figures in the columns labeled "population" and "per capita revenue" have not been abbreviated).[9]

Washington collected approximately $18.7 billion in state-based taxes in 2013.

State tax collections by source ($ in thousands)
State Property taxes Sales and gross receipts Licenses Individual income taxes Corporation net income taxes Other taxes Total 2013 population Per capita collections
Washington $1,939,883 $14,647,173 $1,359,685 N/A N/A $720,303 $18,667,044 6,973,742 $2,676.76
California $1,982,208 $48,074,580 $8,743,748 $66,809,000 $7,462,000 $112,710 $133,184,246 38,431,393 $3,465.51
Nevada $235,143 $5,468,363 $586,801 N/A N/A $736,319 $7,026,626 2,791,494 $2,517.16
Oregon $19,893 $1,369,266 $923,123 $6,260,161 $459,744 $128,700 $9,160,887 3,928,068 $2,332.16
Source: Tax Policy Center, "State Tax Collection Sources 2000-2013," June 20, 2014
Washington tax collections by source in 2013
Source: Tax Policy Center

The table below lists 2013 tax collections by source as percentages of total collections. Sales taxes and gross receipts accounted for 78.5 percent of Washington's total state tax collections.[9]

State tax collections by source (as percentages)
State Property taxes Sales and gross receipts Licenses Individual income taxes Corporation net income taxes Other taxes
Washington 10.39% 78.47% 7.28% N/A N/A 3.86%
California 1.49% 36.10% 6.57% 50.16% 5.60% 0.08%
Nevada 3.35% 77.82% 8.35% N/A N/A 10.48%
Oregon 0.22% 14.95% 10.08% 68.34% 5.02% 1.40%
Source: Tax Policy Center, "State Tax Collection Sources 2000-2013," June 20, 2014

Current fiscal year budget

See also: Historic Washington budget and finance information
Washington state budget -- 2014
Washington State Legislature
Text:SB 5034
Legislative history
Introduced:January 15, 2013
House:April 12, 2013
Vote (lower house):54-43
Senate:June 8, 2013
Vote (upper house):25-23
Conference:June 28, 2013
Conference vote (upper house):44-4
Conference vote (lower house):81-11
Governor:Christine Gregoire
Signed:June 30, 2013
Vetoed:Partial

Fiscal years 2014 and 2015

DocumentIcon.jpg See budget bill: SB 5034
DocumentIcon.jpg See budget bill: SB 6002 (Budget Supplement)

The state's 2013-2014 biennial budget bill passed both chambers of the Washington State Legislature in a second special session on June 28, 2013. Then-Governor Christine Gregoire signed the budget into law on June 30, 2013 after making some partial vetoes, including cutting joint legislative audit and review committee studies on performance indicators and electricity cost impacts from renewable energy standards as well as a number of studies that were required from state agencies without providing funding for those studies.[10][11]

Governor Jay Inslee signed into law a supplemental budget for the biennium on April 4, 2014. The supplemental budget increased spending by approximately $155 million.[12]

State debt

See also: State debt

According to a January 2014 report by the nonprofit organization State Budget Solutions, Washington had a state debt of approximately $89.6 billion. Its state debt per capita was $12,988. The report revealed that state governments faced a combined $5.1 trillion in debt. The obligation amounted to $16,178 per capita in the nation.[13]

Total state debt, 2014
State Total state debt State debt per capita Per capita debt ranking
Washington $89,579,477,000 $12,988 32
California $777,918,403,000 $20,449 9
Nevada $52,838,629,000 $19,152 13
Oregon $86,678,268,000 $22,229 8
Sources: State Budget Solutions, "State Budget Solutions' Fourth Annual State Debt Report," January 8, 2014

Public pensions

See also: Washington public pensions and Washington public employee salaries

A 2012 report from the Pew Center on the States noted that Washington's pension system was funded at 95 percent at the close of fiscal year 2010, well above the 80 percent funding level experts recommend. Nevertheless, Pew designated the state's pension system as needing "improvement" due to its gradually declining funding level.[14]

The funding ratio for the state's pension system increased from 92.88 percent in fiscal year 2007 to 93.07 percent in fiscal year 2012, an increase of 0.19 percentage points, or 0.2 percent. Unfunded liabilities increased from approximately $3.9 billion in fiscal year 2007 to roughly $4.7 billion in fiscal year 2012.

Credit ratings

See also: State credit ratings

Credit rating agencies, such as Standard and Poor's, assign grades to states that take into account a state's ability to pay debts and the general health of the state's economy. Generally speaking, a higher credit rating indicates lower interest costs on the general obligation bonds states sometimes sell to investors in order to finance large-scale undertakings (e.g., road construction and other public works projects). This in turn results in lower interest costs, thereby lowering the cost to taxpayers.[15][16]

The table below lists the Standard and Poor's credit ratings for Washington and surrounding states from 2004 to 2014. Standard and Poor's grades range from AAA, the highest available, to BBB, the lowest.[17]

State credit ratings, 2004 to 2014
State 2014 2013 2012 2011 2010 2009 2008 2007 2006 2005 2004
Washington AA+ AA+ AA+ AA+ AA+ AA+ AA+ AA+ AA AA AA
California A A A- A- A- A A+ A+ A+ A A
Nevada AA AA AA AA AA+ AA+ AA+ AA+ AA+ AA AA
Oregon AA+ AA+ AA+ AA+ AA AA AA AA AA- AA- AA-
Source: Stateline: The Daily News Service of The Pew Charitable Trusts, "Infographic: S&P State Credit Ratings, 2001-2014," June 9, 2014

Federal aid to state budget

See also: Federal aid to state budgets

State governments receive aid from the federal government to fund a variety of joint programs, such as Medicaid. Federal aid varies considerably from state to state. For example, Mississippi received approximately $7.7 billion in federal aid in 2012, which accounted for more than 45 percent of the state's general revenues. By contrast, Alaska received roughly $2.9 billion in federal aid in 2012, just under 20 percent of the state's general revenues.[18]

The table below notes what share of Washington’s general revenues came from the federal government in 2012. That year, Washington received approximately $9.7 billion in federal aid, 28.6 percent of the state's total general revenues. Figures from surrounding states are provided for additional context.[18]

Federal aid to state budgets, 2012
State Total federal aid ($ in thousands) Federal aid as a % of general revenue Ranking
Washington $9,743,127 28.59% 37
California $54,145,284 27.16% 40
Nevada $2,798,426 25.48% 44
Oregon $7,830,552 36.04% 13
Source: United States Census Bureau, "State Government Finances: 2012," accessed February 24, 2014

Stimulus

According to Recovery.gov, the official government website for the Recovery Accountability and Transparency Board, under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, Washington received $7.15 billion in federal stimulus funding between February 2009 and June 2013.[19]

Budget process

The state operates on a biennial budget cycle. The sequence of key events in the budget process is as follows:[20][21]

  1. Budget instruction guidelines are sent to state agencies in April.
  2. State agency budget requests are submitted in September.
  3. The governor submits his or her proposed budget to the Washington State Legislature on or before December 20.
  4. The legislature adopts a budget in April or May. A simple majority is required to pass a budget.
  5. The biennial budget cycle begins in July.

Washington is one of 44 states in which the governor has line item veto authority.[21]

The governor is required by statute to submit a balanced budget to the legislature. Though the legislature is not required to pass a balanced budget, state law does forbid expenditures without supporting revenues.[21]

Agencies, offices and committees

The following standing committees in the Washington State Legislature deal with budget and finance matters:

  1. Appropriations Committee, Washington House of Representatives
  2. Finance Committee, Washington House of Representatives
  3. Ways & Means Committee, Washington State Senate

Studies and reports

U.S. PIRG "Following the Money" report

See also: "Following the Money" report, 2014

The U.S. Public Interest Research Group, a consumer-focused nonprofit organization based in Washington, D.C., released its annual report on state transparency websites in April 2014. The report, entitled "Following the Money," measured how transparent and accountable state websites are with regard to state government spending.[22] According to the report, Washington received a grade of B and a numerical score of 85, indicating that Washington was an "advancing" state in terms of transparency regarding state spending.[22]

Budget and finance ballot measures

Voting on
state and local
government budgets,
spending and finance
State finance.jpg
Policy
Budget policy
Ballot measures
By state
By year
Not on ballot
See also: State and local government budgets, spending and finance on the ballot and List of Washington ballot measures

Ballotpedia has tracked the following ballot measures relating to state and local budget and financial matters in Washington.

  1. Washington Agricultural Trade Commissions, HJR 42 (1985)
  2. Washington Bonuses for WWII Veterans, Initiative 169 (1948)
  3. Washington Budget Stabilization Account Amendment, SJR 8206 (2011)
  4. Washington Common School Construction Fund, SJR 22, Part 1 (1966)
  5. Washington Energy Conservation Financing, SJR 120 (1979)
  6. Washington Energy Conservation Funds for "Any Individual", SJR 112 (1983)
  7. Washington Industrial Development Bonds, HJR 7 (1981)
  8. Washington Initiative Funding Amendment, SJR 8201 (2015)
  9. Washington Investment of Developmental Disability Trust Funds, SJR 8214 (2000)
  10. Washington Investment of Permanent Public Land Funds, SJR 8212 (1987)
  11. Washington Investment of Permanent School Fund, SJR 22, Part 2 (1966)
  12. Washington Investment of Public University Funds, Substitute HJR 4215 (2007)
  13. Washington Investment of Retirement Funds, SJR 5 (1968)
  14. Washington Investment of State Funds, SJR 8208 (1999)
  15. Washington Investment of State Funds Act, HJR 4202 (2001)
  16. Washington Investment of Workers Compensation Funds, HJR 12 (1985)
  17. Washington Limitations on State Debt, HJR 52 (1972)
  18. Washington Minimum Grant for Social Security, Initiative 176 (1950)
  19. Washington Port District Public Funds, SJR 25 (1966)
  20. Washington Prioritize Revenue Growth for Education Measure, Initiative 1388 (2015)
  21. Washington Private Audits of Municipal Accounts, Referendum 33 (1962)
  22. Washington Public Funding for Stormwater and Sewer Services, HJR 4209 (1997)
  23. Washington Rainy Day, Engrossed Substitute SJR 8206 (2007)
  24. Washington Revenues for Elderly and Disabled, Initiative 158 (1944)
  25. Washington School District Debt, SJR 8206 (1999)
  26. Washington School District Indebtedness Limits, HJR 10 (1950)
  27. Washington School District Indebtedness Limits, HJR 8 (1952)
  28. Washington Social Security and Unemployment Assistance, Initiative 157 (1944)
  29. Washington Standard of Living for Seniors and Blind, Initiative 172 (1948)
  30. Washington State Debt Amendment, SJR 8221 (2012)
  31. Washington State Debt Limits Amendment, SJR 8225 (2010)
  32. Washington State Flood Control Fund, Referendum 4 (1936)
  33. Washington State and Local Budgets, Referendum 9 (1916)
  34. Washington Tax & Spending Limits, Initiative 601 (1993)
  35. Washington Tax Sharing, Initiative 226 (1966)
  36. Washington Timeline for Appropriations Payments, Amendment to Article VIII Sec. 4 (1922)

Recent news

This section displays the most recent stories in a Google news search for the terms "Washington budget."

Some of the stories below may not be relevant to this page due to the nature of Google's news search engine.

Washington state budget and finances - Google News Feed

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Contact information

Office of Financial Management
P.O. Box 43113
Olympia, WA 98504-3113
Telephone: 360-902-0555
Website: http://www.ofm.wa.gov/

See also

External links

Additional reading

References

  1. Bureau of Labor Statistics, "CPI Detailed Report Data for February 2014," accessed April 9, 2014
  2. InflationData.com, "Cumulative Inflation Calculator," February 28, 2014
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 3.3 3.4 3.5 3.6 National Association of State Budget Officers, "State Expenditure Report: 2012-2014," accessed February 18, 2015
  4. United States Census Bureau, "State and County QuickFacts," accessed February 23, 2014
  5. National Association of State Budget Officers, "State Expenditure Report, 2009-2011," accessed February 24, 2014
  6. National Association of State Budget Officers, "State Expenditures Report, 2010-2012," accessed February 24, 2014
  7. National Association of State Budget Officers, "State Expenditure Report, 2009," accessed February 24, 2014
  8. National Association of State Budget Officers, "State Expenditure Report, 2008," accessed February 24, 2014
  9. 9.0 9.1 Tax Policy Center, "State Tax Collection Sources 2000-2013," June 20, 2014
  10. Washington State Legislature, "SB 5034 - 2013-14," accessed May 5, 2014
  11. Governor of Washington, "Veto Message on 3ESSB 5034," June 30, 2013
  12. National Association of State Budget Officers, "Summaries of Fiscal Year 2015 Proposed and Enacted Budgets," July 11, 2014
  13. State Budget Solutions, "State Budget Solutions' Fourth Annual State Debt Report," January 8, 2014
  14. Pew Center on the States, "Widening Gap Update: Washington," accessed November 21, 2013
  15. Stateline: The Daily News Service of The Pew Charitable Trusts, "Infographic: S&P State Credit Ratings, 2001-2012," July 13, 2012
  16. Bankrate, "The 6 states with the worst credit ratings," September 27, 2012
  17. Stateline: The Daily News Service of The Pew Charitable Trusts, "Infographic: S&P State Credit Ratings, 2001-2014," June 9, 2014
  18. 18.0 18.1 United States Census Bureau, "State Government Finances: 2012," accessed February 24, 2014
  19. Recovery.gov, "Stimulus Spending by State," accessed February 21, 2014
  20. National Conference of State Legislatures, "State Experiences with Annual and Biennial Budgeting," updated April 2011
  21. 21.0 21.1 21.2 National Association of State Budget Officers, "Budget Processes in the States, Summer 2008," accessed February 21, 2014
  22. 22.0 22.1 U.S. Public Interest Research Group, "Following the Money 2014 Report," accessed April 15, 2014