OLYMPIA, Wash. (AP) — Washington state is finishing its latest budget cycle with a deficit for the first time in modern recordkeeping.
State accountants are in the process of finalizing the numbers, and they now expect that the two-year budget that ended in July will officially close about $90 million in the red. Records released to The Associated Press under state public records laws show it is something that hasn’t happened in any biennium dating back at least a quarter of a century.
It’s not entirely clear whether the state is allowed to have such deficits. One part of the law requires the governor to propose a balanced budget but does not say anything about the Legislature passing one or the governor signing one. However, another section says that “the governor shall make across-the-board reductions” in funds if the governor ever projects a cash deficit.