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

Mukilteo crabber missing; his boat was found at Hat Island

Frank Urbick set out Thursday morning but did not return.

Police looking for leads in case of missing Snohomish man

Henry John Groeneveld, 63, was last seen on Monday, when he said something about going to “the river.”

Separate Everett fires send man to hospital, damage boat

The man was hospitalized for smoke inhalation from the early morning fire.

Police: He made an appointment, then tried to rob the bank

A lawyer is accused of donning a fake beard and telling a teller that a gunman was outside.

Drive-by shooting reported in Marysville neighborhood

Police said there was no evidence to indicate it was targeted at a specific person or property.

Celebrating the origins of Christmas

LDS church holds annual nativity festival featuring more than 600 sets.

Trooper’s car struck when he was arresting man for DUI

She drove away but was arrested for investigation of driving under the influence and hit-and-run.

Community boards are taking on school truancy

Support and follow-through, not punishment, seems to be more effective at keeping kids in school.

Inslee’s budget solves school funding with help from carbon

His budget would use reserves to boost education, then replenish them with a carbon tax or fee.

Most Read