Freedom Foundation's Big Spender List

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The Freedom Foundation, a conservative-libertarian think tank in Washington state, regularly releases a list of the Washington legislature's "big spenders," the legislators whose proposed pieces of legislation would result in the most new government taxes and fees, including increases in existing taxes and fees.

2012 report

The 2012 Big Spender List was part of the Freedom Foundation's 2012 Voter Guide, which also included legislators' voting records, information about initiatives on the fall ballot, and debate videos. The list included the top 10 Washington state legislators in each chamber with highest quantity of proposed tax and fee increases as well as a combined list of the top 10 overall, regardless of chamber. In addition to the Big Spender List, the Freedom Foundation also released a list showing the 10-year net increase in taxes and fees of the proposed pieces legislation for each of Washington's 93 legislators.[1]

The Freedom Foundation named Senator Sharon Nelson as the top big spender of 2012, with her proposed legislation totaling a net $31.5 billion increase in state taxes and fees. Nelson was followed by Senator Maralyn Chase with proposed legislation worth $29.9 million. All of the top 10 big spenders were Democrats. Interestingly, the only five Washington legislators whose proposed legislation would have caused net decreases in the state levels of taxes and fees were also Democrats. Representative David Frockt was listed as the lowest spender with his proposed legislation totaling a net decrease in state taxes and fees of $7.5 billion.[1]

Top 10 Big Spender List

Top 10 Big Spenders--Both Chambers
Ranking Legislator Chamber District Party Proposed New Spending
1 Sharon Nelson Senate 34 Electiondot.png Democratic $31,544,187,523
2 Maralyn Chase Senate 32 Electiondot.png Democratic $29,912,594,792
3 Margarita Prentice Senate 11 Electiondot.png Democratic $27,617,318,400
4 Fred Finn House 35 Electiondot.png Democratic $25,680,094,299
5 Jeanne Kohl-Welles Senate 36 Electiondot.png Democratic $24,265,820,047
6 Reuven Carlyle House 36 Electiondot.png Democratic $22,735,584,620
7 Adam Kline Senate 37 Electiondot.png Democratic $22,337,216,768
8 Steve Tharinger House 24 Electiondot.png Democratic $9,146,276,900
9 Jeannie Darneille House 27 Electiondot.png Democratic $8,695,180,094
10 Kathy Haigh House 35 Electiondot.png Democratic $8,673,210,994

10 Lowest Spenders

10 Lowest Spenders--Both Chambers
Ranking Legislator Chamber District Party Proposed Spending
1 David Frockt Senate 46 Electiondot.png Democratic ($7,458,323,028)
2 Kevin Ranker Senate 40 Electiondot.png Democratic ($7,446,307,157)
3 Karen Keiser Senate 33 Electiondot.png Democratic ($3,014,863,675)
4 Mike Sells House 38 Electiondot.png Democratic ($1,600,446,706)
5 Connie Ladenburg House 29 Electiondot.png Democratic ($403,245,205)
6 Mike Hope House 44 Ends.png Republican $38,694
7 Jason Overstreet House 42 Ends.png Republican $736,500
8 Mike Hewitt Senate 16 Ends.png Republican $736,500
9 Gary Alexander House 20 Ends.png Republican $736,500
10 Matt Shea House 4 Ends.png Republican $736,500

Complete rankings

Click [show] in order to expand the tables below with the full lists of rankings by legislator.


The Freedom Foundation calculates each legislator's total proposed increase or decrease to Washington's present level of taxation by using the data available from Washington's Office of Financial Management (OFM). Initiative 960, passed by Washington voters in 2007, requires that the OFM calculate the 10-year-cost to taxpayers of any proposed bill that would raise taxes, impose new fees, or increase current fees. The Freedom Foundation totals the net cost to taxpayers of the OFM-determined costs and savings of all proposed bills sponsored or co-sponsored by each legislator.[1]

External links