A Review of Washington State’s 2011-13 Budget and Recommendations for Structural Reform

Though it took a special session to finish its work on the 2011-13 budget, the legislature took positive steps this year to put the state on a more sustainable budget path. Despite progress, however, an inadequate reserve fund coupled with ongoing economic uncertainty and projected future spending pressure leaves the state’s budget outlook on tenuous ground highlighting the need for additional structural reforms and spending restraint. The failure to leave an adequate reserve coupled with the ongoing economic uncertainty means additional structural reforms and spending restraint will continue to be necessary as the state recovers from the impact of past overspending combined with the “great recession,” and embraces the path of sustainable budgeting.

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