Whenever people think of government budgeting, most of the time, the federal budget process captures the spotlight – continuing resolutions keep things going while the politicos fight it out. However, at the state level, most states are constitutionally mandated to balance the state budget each year or face shut down. That almost happened in Washington state where lawmakers, mired in a battle over spending spent much of the weekend trying to get a budget together under the wire.
Governor Inslee signed a new budget this morning, that will avoid government shutdown, but not without some tough cuts. Taking the budget fight down to the wire is also new for Washington, it’s been some 20 years since the Governor has signed an operating budget this late in the process. The original budget plan was slated for passage in April but hit roadblocks.
The $33.6 billion budget will define government operations for the next two years, although as CivSource has reported before, Washington has made cuts sooner if revenue fails to line up. One of the big sticking points in this round was a $10bn transportation budget that had a hard time making it through the State Senate. Other issues including taxation, and policy proposals were also at issue.
The inclusion of policy proposals in the budget is not necessarily new, although states are including them more often now and more controversially, as we have seen in states like Ohio. Ohio included a number of rape and abortion provisions in their budget, many of which would deny constitutionally protected health care to women. That budget was signed this morning, only men were present at the signing.