Governor makes major budget cuts in response to Covid-19 crisis

Apr 9, 2020
Written by Mark Johnson, Senior Vice President of Policy and Government Affairs

Governor Jay Inslee has taken bold action in vetoing major portions of the 2020 Supplemental Operating Budget in response to the growing Covid-19 crisis. He sliced nearly $450 million out of the multibillion-dollar spending plan.

He put many new and existing programs on hold or eliminated others to save state resources for the continuing battle with the pandemic.

In a press conference, the Governor said he had to make some difficult and tough decisions. He said every dollar saved today would save the state more than $1.50 later.

Inslee hopes that these reductions will delay or make unnecessary the need for a special Legislative Session to further address the outbreak. At the end of the regular session, March 12, the Legislature and Governor approved a $200 million Covid-19 response package. There are concerns this may not be enough.

The next regular Legislative Session is scheduled for early January 2021 when legislators will write a two-year or biennial spending plan. It is already expected that the “rainy day” fund, state savings, will be significantly impacted and revenues will see a sharp decline as consumption and production have dropped in several industries. Washington State is a largely sales tax-reliant state.

WR and its members appreciate Governor Inslee taking these bold but necessary steps to try to prepare our state for the repercussions that are expected to occur. WR continues to stay in close contact with the Governor and Legislative leadership as we all continue to navigate through this crisis on behalf of our members and their customers.