By AWB President Kris Johnson
State government will spend more than $52.8 billion over the next two years. This is an increase of about 18.3 percent over the previous two-year budget and one of the biggest increases in the last 25 years.
It's true there are many competing demands for resources, but lawmakers had $5.6 billion more to work with, before raising taxes. Rather than look for cost savings, they chose to raise more than $1 billion in new taxes.
It's a safe bet that most Washington families and small businesses did not increase their spending by 18.3 percent this year. This pace of expansion is unsustainable. When the tax collections drop, that usually means painful budget cuts and more tax increases.
Lawmakers made progress on important issues this year, but it came at a high cost. As they work through the interim and prepare for the next budget, our hope is that lawmakers will tap the brakes and slow the growth in state spending.
Washington has enjoyed years of strong economic growth, but we need to be prepared for the next downturn.