Including federal relief, state spending increased by 27.1% in 2019–21 and 28.7% in 2021–23

May 12, 2022
Written by WR Communications

Emily Makings, Washington Research Council

The increase in appropriations from funds subject to the outlook (NGFO) in the 2022 supplemental operating budget is historically large, yet doesn’t include the influx of federal relief funds related to the pandemic.

On top of the $64.125 billion in NGFO appropriations for 2021–23, federal relief appropriations for 2021–23 came to $8.931 billion in the operating budget, $1.0 billion in the transportation budget, and $624.3 million in the capital budget.

There was also substantial spending of federal relief in 2019–21. Actual 2019–21 spending figures are now available from the state. It is important to note that a final accounting of all the federal relief is years down the road. The various pots of federal money have different use-by dates, and the state has some flexibility to switch around the source of funds for various programs in order to make the best use of federal relief. Additionally, various pots of federal relief are grouped together in the state’s historical fiscal data, which makes it a bit tricky to compare the history to the initial appropriations. A more precise analysis will follow after the state publishes its single audit report for 2021 this summer.

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