Spokesman-Review on the 2015-17 budget challenges

Over the weekend, the Spokesman-Review editorialized that the state’s fiscal choices are “far from easy.”

Recent analyses by the Washington Office of Financial Management and Washington Research Council underscore the challenges ahead for what almost certainly will be a Legislature divided into a Republican Senate and Democratic House.

Our preview of the 2015-17 state budget is available here. It describes the budget outlook, which is dismal even before thinking about McCleary or the potential adoption of I-1351. And, as the Spokesman-Review points out,

The OFM and research council reports did not even touch on transportation, which remains the biggest unaddressed issue facing the state.

The paper’s conclusion:

The new Legislature will have some very difficult choices to make. As the political campaigns begin in earnest, voters should ask tough questions about how they expect Washington to meet all its obligations. Until this biennium, the answer was tuition increases at state universities.

That’s the wrong answer for the state’s middle class, and the aerospace, and information- and biotechnology industries that are the key to the state’s future.