Budget & Taxes Publications
A budget is where priorities meet realities. At least that's how it should work.
The problem with government is that it gets to write the rules--about tax rates, fees, and even what counts as a balanced budget. That makes it easy for politicians to pretend everything is a priority and every moment a crisis demanding greater sacrifice from taxpayers.
The Freedom Foundation is a tireless voice for priority-based budgeting in state and local government. We work with responsible policymakers to craft sound, balanced budgets. We expose irresponsibility and gimmicks. We helped launch performance audits in Washington State as well as the model for health savings accounts eventually adopted into federal law.
We work with elected officials and citizens to make government budget writing transparent and to focus it on real priorities, cutting spending on programs that are unnecessary, counterproductive or unconstitutional.
The principles are pretty simple: taxes should be as low, simple, and fair as possible and budgets should be balanced.
October 17, 2012
"Class warfare is a form of bigotry"
That's the first line in a Forbes article by fellow free enterprise proponent, John Tillman. Tillman is the CEO of the Illinois Policy Institute, which you may have heard of as they were in the center of the Chicago teacher's union strike.
August 21, 2012
Contrary to what politicians and road signs would have you believe, public-sector jobs simply confiscate investment capital that could be used to grow the economy and pay it out to a hand-picked contractor
July 12, 2012
The Americans for Tax Reform Foundation (ATR) announced today that 2012’s national Cost of Government Day will fall this Sunday on July 15th. This means that the average worker has to work 197 days of the year to pay for their share of the spending and regulatory burdens imposed by local, state, and national government.
June 21, 2012
Washingtons budget is safe for now; the state should be in the black this year and legislators should avoid a special session until at least September. Still, the states miniscule ending fund balance and large downside risks make further budget woes likely.
June 06, 2012
Resentment over public sector employees being better compensated than the private sector workers who pay their salaries boiled over in more than one state last night
June 05, 2012
There are three important lessons from the Wisconsin collective bargaining battles over the past eighteen months...
May 16, 2012
Employment in Washington has improved considerably since April 2011, when the unemployment rate was more than a percentage point higher at 9.3%. Since then, the state has added nearly 40,000 jobs. Washingtons unemployment rate is still well above pre-recession levels and tracks closely with the national unemployment rate (also 8.1% in April).
April 24, 2012
This years Tax Freedom Day finally arrived for Washington State today, April 24thtwelve days later than last year. Washingtons Tax Freedom Day is a week later than the National Tax Freedom Day, which happened to be the day federal tax returns were due. It could be just a little bit worse, though; New York and New Jersey must wait until May 1st, and Connecticut wont see their Tax Freedom Day until May 5th this year.
April 17, 2012
This year, April 15--the usual deadline to file federal taxes--fell on a Sunday. Whenever that happens, the IRS actually puts off tax day. This makes sense if you're familiar with the Gospels, which are pretty clear on the need for tax collectors to repent.
April 11, 2012
Governor Chris Gregoire called for a special session on September 22nd of last year to address an impending budget shortfall. 201 days later, after a third special session and a budget-negotiation all-nighter, legislators have finally done their job and balanced the budget. Just after 6:00 am this morning, the Senate passed the final version of the budget bill by a 44-2 margin.
April 05, 2012
This proposal essentially lures money from private-sector workers and companies into the bankrupt state pension systems. Our state and local government pension systems are already heading toward bankruptcy.
March 29, 2012
The Senates proposal to eliminate early retirement benefits for new hires isnt an act of class warfare, nor is it an assault on state workers. The reform idea, originally put for by Governor Gregoire, is an attempt to curtail a lavish benefit extended to retirees in times of plenty. The state has to face economic reality and cut excessive costs wherever possible. Given that public workers already average higher wages and earn more secure pensions than their privat...Read more here
March 24, 2012
Yesterday, after over a week of no progress in negotiations on the state budget, Democratic Governor Christine Gregoire brought forth her own suggestion for closing the budget hole.
Her plan, endorsed by State Treasurer Jim McIntire, is to hold local tax revenue in the General Fund until the end of each month instead of instantly transferring it to the Local Sales and Use Tax Account. The advantage of this plan is that it doesnt have any long-term budget impact. The di...Read more here
March 16, 2012
Senate Republicans released a new budget proposal yesterday, hoping to entice Democrats from both the House and the Senate to adopt their plan. Republicans have done away with all cuts to K-12 and higher education, but Democrats still seem unwilling to swallow the skipped pension contribution that figures into in the plan. Democrats insist that delaying funding for education into the next biennium wont cause any problems for schools and wont make next biennium...Read more here
March 13, 2012
With roughly a $500 million gap still to close, both parties and playing the blame game and wondering where to make up the difference. Legislators would do well to remember that an uptick in February's revenue forecast made the current budget dilemma less severe than it otherwise would have been. While now is certainly not the time to raise taxes, lawmakers might take time to rethink some of the tax breaks and hand-outs that are keeping revenue from coming in the door.
March 08, 2012
Surprise--today is the mandatory last day of the 2012 legislative session!
Actually, it's no surprise at all. Nor was it a surprise 60 days ago, when the session began, that the current state budget was in need of repairs. Everybody knew then that fixing the budget was the one and only thing the legislature was obligated to get done.
March 06, 2012
Friday night, the political left was apoplectic about "hijacking" and "extremism" as a bipartisan group of Senators formed a temporary majority on the State Senate floor in order to pass a needed budget fix. That bill now joins the budget passed by House Democrats and will be negotiated in an attempt to create a budget that can pass in both chambers and go to the Governor for her signature. (The Olympian has coverage; the News Tribune reports rumors of protests.)
The trouble...Read more here
March 03, 2012
With less than a week to go in the 2012 legislative session, control of the Washington State Senate was wrenched away from the established Democratic Party leadership today by a bipartisan coalition. All of the Senate Republicans plus three Democrats--Tim Sheldon, Rodney Tom, and Jim Kastama--banded together to force action on the budget and major budget related reforms.
As of this writing, the outcome is uncertain. Leadership initially responded by forcing the full reading ...Read more here
March 01, 2012
Washington State Senate Democrats released a budget proposal in response to HB 2127 on Tuesday, the Houses latest attempt to close part of the states $1.4 billion budget hole. While the House proposal includes over $800 million in various cuts and fund transfers, the Senate is slightly less ambitious; their proposal would only resolve ? (about $560 million) of the gap between revenues and expenditures for the 2011-2013 biennium.