Inslee budget proposal begins buildup to 2015 debate
Gov. Jay Inslee unveiled his 2014 supplemental budget proposal Tuesday, but the state’s biggest budget debate may already be starting for the 2015-17 biennium.
The supplemental budget largely holds steady with what the Legislature approved earlier this year, with about a $200 million increase in appropriations through the end of the 2015 fiscal year. But with increasing strains on state services — rising school enrollment, a growing prison population, an ongoing impasse over the state’s ailing transportation system and a Supreme Court order to boost school funding — Inslee said now is the time to lay the groundwork for the 2015 budget debate.
“This is to start to prepare that discussion because there are going to be quite a few things that hit us in 2015 that are inexorable,” Inslee said Thursday in a telephone interview with the Yakima Herald-Republic.
With incremental growth in state revenue over the last two years after several years of steep cuts, Inslee said the struggle to support and improve services won’t be as dire in the coming biennium, but the political fight will be no less difficult.
“It doesn’t mean by any stretch of the imagination that this is not a difficult piece of legislative work,” he said.