Catching up on state budget situation: Lots of money, plenty of ideas on how to spend it.

On the first day back to work after the holiday break, we thought we’d start by taking a fresh look at the state budget. Just before we left, Gov. Inslee had released his supplemental budget proposal, lifting biennial spending to some $62 billion. With steady revenue growth and unspent federal dollars available, the growth in spending is accommodated in the supplemental without tax increases. (We’ll leave aside for the moment whether the increased spending would be sustainable long-term without new taxes.)

The Washington Research Council has published several blog posts taking a look at the governor’s budget. 

We recommend these as a starting point for the understanding the budget discussions we’ll see in the legislative session beginning next week. 

Also related to the budget, legislators last month finally filed the anticipated lawsuit challenging the governor’s vetoes of transportation and climate-change legislation

And while our headline refers to plenty of money in the budget, the abundance does not extend to the transportation budget, which is still below pre-pandemic projections. Rep. Andrew Barkis, R-Olympia, last month proposed ideas for boosting transportation funding without increasing the gas tax. Gov. Inslee has also proposed boosting transportation spending using available revenues. The transportation debate will be interesting, though there are questions of how much can be accomplished in a 60-day legislative session.

More on all of this later. Happy New Year.