In May 2019, the current governor signed the largest Washington Budget in the state’s history. Over $52 Billion dollars. The budget was packed with absurd tax increases and fee increases that hurt small businesses and local communities. There hasn’t been any established value for funded operations for decades in Olympia. Worse yet, we have decades of unfunded implied obligations like retirement, maintenance costs, etc. Probably the most glaring problem is Olympia doesn’t have any sense of situational awareness—specifically, there are NO LIMITS to the amount of your taxpayer money they are willing to spend. So, what do we do? How do we get the budget under control and reduce spending? Well, we have many solutions, but I’ll share three of them here.
Stop Spending. Freeze all current government spending at given levels for a minimum of three years until it can be evaluated properly. This will allow the state to make the appropriate changes to department structures and regulations and eliminate the hazard of new taxation or increased fees. To be clear, Washington DOES NOT have a revenue problem—they have a spending problem and that will be my priority on day one.
Expertise. We will appoint Department Heads who have better budgetary experience and understanding of the utilization of resources. Activist department heads or department heads with poor performance track-records will be replaced. Additionally, department heads whose jobs are duplicated elsewhere will be eliminated.
Start from Scratch. The current system of budgeting allows departments to simply submit a budget increase without any justification or accountability. That system should end. We will work to implement a “Zero-Based Budget” approach where ALL expenses must be justified and expressed in terms of measurable outcomes for each new period.