The people of the state of Washington hereby find and declare:
(1) The continuing increases in our state tax burden and the corresponding growth of state government is contrary to the interest of the people of the state of Washington.
(2) It is necessary to limit the rate of growth of state government while assuring adequate funding of essential services, and ample funding of basic education as defined by the legislature in chapter 548, Laws of 2009 and chapter 236, Laws of 2010 and as required by the state supreme court opinion and subsequent orders in McCleary v. State.
(3) The current budgetary system in the state of Washington lacks stability. The system encourages crisis budgeting and results in cutbacks during lean years and overspending during surplus years.
(4) It is therefore the intent of this chapter to:
(a) Establish a limit on state expenditures that will assure that the growth rate of state expenditures does not exceed the growth rate in Washington personal income once the state has fully implemented its Article IX funding obligations;
(b) Assure that local governments are provided funds adequate to render those services deemed essential by their citizens;
(c) Assure that the state does not impose responsibility on local governments for new programs or increased levels of service under existing programs unless the costs thereof are paid by the state;
(d) Provide for adjustment of the limit when costs of a program are transferred between the state and another political entity;
(e) Establish a procedure for exceeding this limit in emergency situations;
(f) Provide for voter approval of tax increases; and
(g) Avoid overfunding and underfunding state programs by providing stability, consistency, and long-range planning.
[2015 3rd sp.s. c 29 § 2; 2005 c 72 § 3;
1994 c 2 § 1 (Initiative Measure No. 601, approved November 2, 1993); 1980 c 1 § 1 (Initiative Measure No. 62, approved November 6, 1979).]
Effective date—Findings—2015 3rd sp.s. c 29:
See notes following RCW 43.135.025
Findings—2005 c 72:
"The legislature finds that the citizens of the state benefit from a state expenditure limit that ensures that the state budget operates with stability and predictability, while encouraging the establishment of budget priorities and a periodic review of state programs and the delivery of state services. A state expenditure limit can prevent budgeting crises that can occur because of increased spending levels during periods of revenue surplus followed by drastic reductions in state services in lean years. The citizens of the state are best served by an expenditure limit that keeps pace with the growth in the state's economy yet ensures budget discipline and taxpayer protection. For these reasons, the legislature finds that modifications to the state expenditure limit, after ten years of experience following the initial implementation of Initiative Measure No. 601, will recognize the economic productivity of the state's economy and better balance the needs of the citizens for essential government services with the obligation of the legislature for strict spending accountability and protection of its taxpayers." [ 2005 c 72 § 1.
Effective dates—2005 c 72: "(1) Sections 1 and 2 of this act are necessary for the immediate preservation of the public peace, health, or safety, or support of the state government and its existing public institutions, and take effect immediately [April 18, 2005].
(2) Sections 3 through 6 of this act take effect July 1, 2007." [ 2005 c 72 § 7.