With a $520 million shortfall predicted for Washington state through mid-2011, Governor Christine Gregoire has signed an executive order for state agency cuts.
The state is actually going to bring in approximately $770 million less this budget year. However, with about $250 million in reserves it brings the deficit to $520 million.
With tax collections for the next two-years estimated to be $670 million lower than expected, that brings the revenue drop to $1.4 billion.
The big question is why the state hasn’t been preparing for these cuts sooner?
It seems that common sense has been thrown out the window when it comes to spending taxpayer’s money here in Washington. Budget cuts should have been made long ago.
Forty-three percent of the budget goes to public schools, as well it should. We need to protect our children and give them every opportunity to learn and become self-sustaining adults. It is also constitutionally protected.
Social Health Services receives 30 percent of the budget, higher education gets nine percent, corrections gets five percent with 13 percent earmarked towards “other” which pays bonds, interest, etc.
Because basic education is protected by law most of the major cuts will have to be within Social Services, higher education and correctional facilities.
It’s understandable that finding places to cut is going to be hard work, but it seems that these departments should have been preparing for the ax to fall on their budgets.
Maybe some of them are prepared and many have already taken hits, but with costs going up everywhere and tax intakes going down, the writing has been on the wall for some time.
This is a great opportunity for departments within the state to really take a look at where they can pinch pennies and fill the spending holes.
Take the time to research what works for other states and big businesses around the country when it comes to cost cutting.
Households and small businesses are doing it, why can’t our state government?