The phrase,'Unsound Transit', was coined by the Wall Street Journal to describe Seattle where,"Light Rail Madness eats billions that could otherwise be devoted to truly efficient transportation technologies." The Puget Sound's traffic congestion is a growing cancer on the region's prosperity. This website, captures news and expert opinion about ways to address the crisis. This is not a blog, but a knowledge base, which collects the best articles and presents them in a searchable format. My goal is to arm residents with knowledge so they can champion fact-based, rather than emotional, solutions.


Thursday, March 20, 2008

Wa State Budget Expenditure Limits

The Committee

The state General Fund budget and five related funds subject to a spending limit defined in RCW 43.135: State Expenditures Limitations.

The Expenditure Limit Committee was established in 2000 for the purpose of determining and adjusting the state expenditure limit. The members of the Expenditure Limit Committee are

  • The Director of the Office of Financial Management
  • The Attorney General or the Attorney General's designee
  • The chair of the Senate Ways & Means Committee
  • The chair of the House Appropriations Committee
  • The ranking minority member of the Senate Ways & Means Committee
  • The ranking minority member of the House Appropriations Committee

The spending limit applies to the State General Fund, the Health Services Account, the Student Achievement Fund, the Water Quality Account, the Public Safety and Education Account (including the Equal Justice Subaccount), and the Violence Reduction and Drug Enforcement Account. Each November, the Expenditure Limit Committee adjusts the limit for the previous and current fiscal year, and projects a limit for the following two years. Generally speaking, the expenditure limit is the actual spending level from the prior year multiplied by the fiscal growth factor, plus or minus any adjustments required by statute. The fiscal growth factor is the average growth in state personal income for the prior ten fiscal years.

November 2007 Meeting Materials

Spending Limits
November 30, 2007
Fiscal YearSpending Limit
FY 2007* $14,154.1 million

FY 2008** $16,002.1 million
FY 2009** (Preliminary) $16,839.0 million
Total 2007-09 Biennium $32,841.0 million
FY 2010*** (Preliminary) $17,746.6 million
FY 2011**** (Unofficial) $18,660.5 million
Total 2009-11 Biennium $36,407.1 million

Note: Totals may not tie due to rounding.
* Actual GFS spending for FY07 ($14,143.6 million)
used to calculate the limit for FY 2008.
** FY 2008 and subsequent years include GFS and
"related" accounts.
***Preliminary projection.
****Unofficial calculation for planning purposes, not
adopted by the ELC.

Fiscal Growth Factors

Section 8 of Initiative 601 requires that any percentage increase in fees that exceeds the fiscal growth factor must be approved by the Legislature. These factors are also used in the calculation of the spending limit.

Beginning with the 2007-09 biennium, the fiscal growth factor is the average growth in state personal income for the prior ten fiscal years.

Through the 2005-07 biennium, the fiscal growth factor was calculated as a three year moving average of population growth and inflation, lagged two years. Inflation was based on the "Implicit Price Deflator for Personal Consumption" as estimated by the federal Department of Commerce. Population growth was based on estimates by the state Office of Financial Management.

Fiscal Growth Factors

Fiscal YearFiscal
Growth Factor
FY 19947.18%
FY 19956.21%
FY 19965.13%
FY 19974.45%
FY 19984.05%
FY 19994.18%
FY 20003.32%
FY 20012.87%
FY 20022.79%
FY 20033.29%
FY 20043.20%
FY 20053.03%
FY 20062.82%
FY 20073.38%
FY 20085.53%
FY 20095.57%Final
FY 20105.39%Preliminary
FY 20115.15%Unofficial

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