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

More in Local News

Child porn found in forest treehouse and Mill Creek home

Daniel Wood, 56, has been charged with two counts of possession of child pornography.

The rules: You can’t put just anything on your vanity plate

The state keeps a “banned list” of character combinations that will automatically be denied.

Man arrested after robbery reported at Lynnwood Walgreens

He matched the description of a suspect in an earlier robbery reported about three miles away.

Driver killed in crash identified as Monroe man

Anthony Ray Vannelli Jr. died of blunt force injuries. He was 37.

Edmonds man gets nearly 14 years for murder of roommate

Derrick Crawford, 22, admitted that he shot and intended to kill 27-year-old Joshua Werner.

Motorcyclist seriously hurt in Everett hit-and-run

Police are searching for the driver and a gray Dodge Stratus with extensive front-end damage.

As expected, 92 to be laid off by Stanwood’s Twin City Foods

The frozen-vegetables processor announced last year it was moving all operations to Pasco.

Masked gunman sought in shooting at house near Darrington

The suspect — a neighbor — is still at large. There were no injuries reported, but a television was hit.

Suspicious package found at jail; bomb squad responding

Officers shut down Oakes Avenue between Wall Street and Pacific Avenue in downtown Everett.

Most Read