The growth of state spending

  • Reported by Chuck Taylor and Jerry Cornfield / Herald Writers
  • Friday, January 25, 2013 7:58pm
  • Local NewsLocal news

The state budget being tackled by the Legislature is a monster — a complicated two-year plan that must balance sometimes-difficult-to-predict revenue streams with predictably difficult spending decisions. Most of the discretionary spending — and the news from Olympia — lies in a general fund of about $33 billion. But the whole shebang, the check-register total for everything, from state payroll to highway construction, is more than twice that.

While state budget cuts have been much in the news in recent years, overall spending has steadily increased, in no small part due to rising costs beyond the state’s control, such as health care, and contractual obligations to state employees. These numbers have been adjusted for inflation, with all of the biennia expressed in 2012 dollars. Some economists think the Consumer Price Index we used for the adjustment overstates the rate of inflation, so the actual increase from the 2001-03 biennium to the 2013-15 biennium, for example, could be greater than the 24.0 percent shown here.

Crunch the numbers yourself

  • Above, we’ve posted the Excel spreadsheet we used to make these calculations.
  • You can learn more at the excellent Washington State Fiscal Information website at fiscal.wa.gov.

More in Local News

Families begin relocating from public housing complex

Baker Heights is in need of repairs deemed to costly to make, and will be demolished and replaced.

Trail work by juvenile offenders builds resumes, confidence

Kayak Point trails were built out this year by groups from Denney Juvenile Justice Center.

Herald photos of the week

A weekly collection of The Herald’s best images by staff photographers and… Continue reading

Distress beacon leads rescuers to Pacific Crest Trail hikers

Two men in their 20s had encountered snow and waited two nights for a helicopter rescue.

Volunteers clean up homeless camp infested with garbage

The organization’s founder used to live and do drugs in the same woods.

Everett mayoral campaign is one of the priciest ever

Many campaign donors are giving to both Cassie Franklin and Judy Tuohy.

Arrests made in robbery-turned fatal Everett shooting

A man, 24, and woman, 18, were found at a hotel in Seattle.

Boeing marks the start of 777X production at Paine Field

It took tax breaks and union concessions to land assembly of the company’s new jetliner in Everett.

3 fire departments seek levies to support emergency services

District 25 in Oso is hoping to pass its first fire levy in 22 years.

Most Read