Recession Reaches Washington: A State Response

Washington State is poised to repeat the mistakes of the past by slashing public services – and jobs – which could deepen and prolong the effects of the recession locally.

Using state economic data through year-end 2008, a new analysis by the Economic Opportunity Institute emphasizes the severity of this recession, and notes that current state budget and policy proposals mirror the failed economic policies that have pushed the country into financial and economic crisis.

The Bush administration response to the 2001 recession was to continue cutting taxes, reducing government oversight, delegitimizing public services, underfunding infrastructure, and abandoning America’s children and families. Washington State relied primarily on cuts in public services for several years after 2001 to balance the budget.

With these policies, Washington, along with much of the country, endured a three-year job slump. Once economic growth resumed, most of the benefits went to the wealthiest while the majority of families struggled even before the economy collapsed again last year

Now Washington must avoid drastic public spending cuts that could feed the downward spiral. The residents of Washington need our state government to step up to its responsibility to fund public structures and provide educational opportunity for all.  We must both raise new revenues for the 2009-11 budget and begin serious efforts toward adopting a fairer and more robust tax system. Only then can we restore economic security to the families of our state.

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