Budget Updates

Jump to the Latest Budget Updates.

As state employees, budget decisions have a direct impact on our jobs, work conditions, benefits, and pay.  

The Washington state budget is divided into two parts: Unprotected and Protected.

Almost all Washington Federation of State Employees members work in the unprotected portion of the budget that is subject to cuts.

  • Protected - This includes things mandated by the state constitution, federal law, and other legal obligations. No matter what happens, the protected part of the budget is off-limits from any cuts. 

  • Unprotected - This portion of the budget is subject to cuts. It's where almost all WFSE members work.

That's why it's so important for WFSE members to understand the budget, and to take an active role in how the state raises revenue

Budget Updates


Today the Economic and Revenue Forecast Council released their updated revenue projections.

State revenue collections have been increasing each of the past four months.  The Council is now projecting that state revenue for the 2021-23 biennium will be almost $1.8b higher than they estimated in March. Revenue projections for the current 2019-21 biennium are up $800 million.

The Council says collections could improve if:

  • COVID cases decline faster
  • Consumer response to fiscal stimulus is stronger
  • And/or if Congress passes an infrastructure package.

Collections could decline if:

  • More infectious COVID variants lead to increased cases and hospitalizations
  • and/or if slower supply chain recovery and growth in labor supply lead to higher than expected inflation.

What does improving revenue mean for us?

As public employees, we persevered to get our state through the COVID-19 pandemic. We made sacrifices and took significant risks. Public employees like you are why our state has kept running and why our state's budget has improved. We must be appropriately compensated.

Please join us in sending an email to Governor Inslee. We're asking for an across-the-board pay raise for state employees in 2022.

Send a Letter to the Governor

WFSE member not in state government? Stay tuned for details targeting decision makers at your place of employment. 


Latest Revenue Forecast Shows Continued Improvemnent

An economic forecast released today by the Economic and Revenue Forecast Council shows more improvement since the last update in November.

The council is now projecting an additional $1.3 billion in state revenue for the current, two-year budget cycle and an additional $1.9 billion increase for the 2021-23 budget cycle. 

November's projections included a $1.8 billion shortfall for the current budget cycle and a $2 billion shortfall for the  2021-23 budget cycle.

Things to keep in mind: 

  • There is reason for optimism, but state revenue could fall dramatically once again if there is another shutdown. Keep wearing those masks and get the vaccine when you're able to! 

  • Working people should not be paying more in taxes than billionaires. As state revenue projections improve, some elected officials are claiming that we no longer need to tax extraordinary stock market profits, that Washington should continue having the most upside-down tax code in the country. We know better. There's no reason working families should pay more in taxes than billionaires.

Our state's long-term recovery requires all of us following of health and safety guidelines and enacting bold revenue reform to fix our state's upside down tax code. 

Learn More About Washington's Rigged Tax Code


We Did It! Congress Passes Relief for State and Local Goverments 

Engaged members like you flooded elected officials with letters and calls pushing for an investment in state services.

The result? Congress passed a COVID relief bill providing vital funding for state and local governments, the American Rescue Plan, which included an estimated $10.6 billion for Washington state.

American Rescue Plan highlights for our state.


Agency-Specific Highlights from Governor Inslee's Proposed Budget

Below are important highlights from Governor Inslee's Proposed Budget for 2021-2023 specific to the agencies where our members work.

General Government

Includes highlights for DES, WaTech, Human RIghts, OMWBE, Archeology & Historic Preservation, Arts, Historical Society, SOS, Commerce and DOH.

Human Services

Includes agency-specific highlights for the following: WSH, ESH, CSTC, DSHS Aging & Disability, DSHS Economic Services, SCC, HCA, DOC, DCYF Juv Rehab, DVA, DOH, LNI, Services for Blind, ESD, and CJTC.

DCYF Child Welfare and Early Learning 

The governor's proposed budget includes investments in our state's struggling child care system. This document describes agency-specific highlights for DCYF Child Welfare and DCYF Early Learning.

Natural Resources

Includes highlights for DOE, DNR, Parks, DFW, Agriculture, and Recreation & Conservation. 


Includes agency highlights for DOT, DOL and WSP.

Employee Compensation

See WFSE's Director of Legislative and Political Action testify on Employee Compensation in front of the Senate Ways and Means Committee on 1/12/21.

"State employees have done their part. We've made sacrifices. Now it's time for the rich and powerful to do the same."

New Revenue

WFSE supports the governor's goal of raising new revenue to fund the critical services we provide the residents of this state. That's what the People First Campaign is all about. 


The 2021 Legislative Session begins today. Have you told Washington lawmakers to choose people over cuts?


Governor Inslee released his Proposed 2021-23 Budget, which includes:

  • No cuts to essential services 
  • A tax on certain stock market profits (capital gains tax)
  • A tax on health insurers

"We must invest in the relief, recovery and resilience of Washington. We cannot cut the things that we need most during a pandemic," Inslee said. 

The Washington State Senate and House will release their own budget proposals during the 105-day session Legislative Session that begins Monday, January 11, 2021.

Read the Overview
Governor Inslee's complete 2021-23 proposed budget


State revenue over the last two months has been stronger than anticipated in September, according to a new report from the Economic & Revenue Forecast Council. This is good news, but there is still a deficit projected over the next five years:

"Despite forecast increases in September and November, the GF-S forecast is $1.8 billion lower than the February 2020 forecast [pre COVID-19] for the current biennium, $1.8 billion lower for the next biennium and $2.0 billion lower for the 2023-25 biennium." 

Learn more.


An economic forecast released today by the Economic and Revenue Forecast Council cut the projected revenue shortfall of $9 billion from the June forecast (below) in half.

The significant improvement in projected revenue includes an increase of $2.1 billion in the current biennium and $2.2 billion in the next. This still leaves a projected shortfall of over $4 billion over the next three years.

This good news, of course, is contingent on residents following health guidance and our state avoiding another round of shutdowns. 

Learn more. 


Today the Washington State Economic and Revenue Forecast Council (ERFC) announced state revenue collections have fallen more than expected.

The last official revenue forecast was in February.  Based on that forecast, the legislature adopted a supplemental budget in March that made modest increases in spending. Since then the pandemic has driven our economy into a deep recession, and the ERFC now projects a budget deficit of almost $9 billion over the next three years.

Click the link below for the full ERFC report. 

Learn more.


Agencies Identify Cuts in Budget Exercise

In May, state agencies were asked identify "operating budget savings options" to reduce state spending by 15%. This budget exercise was necessary due to the impacts of COVID-19 on the state budget, but also due to our state's upside-down tax system, which relies disproportionately on the spending habits of working familes -- the very same people who spend less during times of recession!

See Budget Cut Exercises for Your Workplace Here

Note: Yes, these cuts would be devastating – to our jobs, to our state as a whole, and to our ability to recover from the pandemic and recession. But these are not formal proposals. We have time pressure our elected officials to ask the wealthy to pay their fair share. This is what the People First Campaign is all about.