budget woes

A few days after Washington lawmakers approved a budget deal to lower state spending last year, small-government Rep. Gary Alexander got $40.60 worth of dry cleaning done.

Then he made sure taxpayers paid the bill.

OLYMPIA, Wash. - In Olympia, a new revenue outlook shows a shortfall in the next state budget cycle. That is putting renewed attention on promises not to raise taxes.

Washington's Democratic governor-elect Jay Inslee made such a pledge during the recent campaign. So did many Republicans elected to the Legislature.

The chief budget writer for House Democrats, Ross Hunter, says he's working on a no-new-taxes spending blueprint for the next two years. But Hunter Wednesday predicted the product will include so many unpalatable cuts, he doubts it could pass.

PACIFIC, Wash. — The south King County town of Pacific is more than a century old, but the city council considered a measure at the Monday meeting to disincorporate.

This Sunday, the U.S. Postal Service won't be able to pay its latest $5.6 billion dollar obligation. This will be its second default; on Aug. 1 it failed to come up with a $5.5 billion dollar payment. The Service is warning of expected losses this year unless something is done:

The Seattle City Council is facing a $1.1 billion shortfall in its pension fund, according to a report to the Government Performance and Finance Committee (first noted by the politics and government blog Publicola).

OLYMPIA, Wash. – The Great Recession has taken its toll on morale at Washington’s largest state agency. Employee satisfaction at the Department of Social and Health Services has plummeted over the past couple of years. That’s according to a new employee survey.

DSHS is not only a large agency, it deals with some of Washington’s most vulnerable populations: abused and neglected children, the mentally ill and the elderly.

OLYMPIA, Wash. – The burgeoning roll-your-own cigarette industry in Washington is preparing to do legal battle against the state. Governor Chris Gregoire is expected to sign into law today a new tax on do-it-yourself smokes. That will likely trigger a lawsuit.

Wenatchee-area default results in new reform law

Mar 6, 2012

OLYMPIA, Wash. – A follow-up now to a story we first brought you in December. It was about the default of an under-performing hockey and concert arena in Wenatchee, Washington. Governor Chris Gregoire recently signed into law a rescue plan for that project. But the new law also aims to prevent future municipal defaults.

Here’s the quick back story. On December 1st of last year, the Town Toyota Center in Wenatchee went into default. This happened after the two counties and seven small cities that backed the events center missed a $42 million balloon payment.

OLYMPIA, Wash. — Republicans and Democrats are merging closer on tax policy as they begin to formulate solutions on the state's budget shortfall.

OLYMPIA, Wash. — Washington state lawmakers are pressing ahead with a series of mostly driving-related fee increases to raise money for road repairs and other transportation needs.

The fee increases, which include an 80 percent hike for driver's licenses, passed out of the Senate Transportation Committee Monday. They would raise an estimated $52 million next year and an average of $80 million each year over the next decade.

OLYMPIA, Wash. – Washington Governor Chris Gregoire is set to propose a mix of cuts and new revenues to close a $1.4 billion budget shortfall. The Democrat has scheduled a news conference Monday morning.

There's relatively good news on King County’s budget for 2012: In a big change from recent years, Executive Dow Constantine is proposing no cuts to services. 

Constantine says though it is “surrounded by seas of red ink,” King County is “an island of relative stability” after several years of budget cuts and streamlining.

OLYMPIA, Wash. – Washington's latest revenue forecast predicts a $1.4 billion drop in tax collections through June of 2013.

Washington State University President Elson Floyd says the university will get out of the current fiscal crisis, but it is not there yet.

Seattle voters will face a proposed car tab fee on the November ballot. The city council has unanimously agreed to ask for an additional $60 annually for the next 10 years to help pay for road and transit projects. 

The news comes just a day after the King County Council added a temporary $20 car tab fee to maintain bus service.

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