Washington's Budget Deficit Mounting and Tri-Citians Have Suggestions - NBC Right Now/KNDO/KNDU Tri-Cities, Yakima, WA |

Washington's Budget Deficit Mounting and Tri-Citians Have Suggestions

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KENNEWICK, Wash.-- Washington is projected to face an $8-billion deficit. 

A few weeks ago, KNDU told you about the budget calculator on Governor Gregoire's website.  She has a calculator on there so Washingtonians can see how the budget is balanced and suggest ideas to her office of how to balance the budget.  However, the Governor's office says they've only received 21 suggestions in direct response to the website.

Today, KNDU set out to see what people in the Tri-Cities think would help to balance the budget, and we found that many people don't fully understand the state budget. 

Washington state gets money from retail sales tax, business and occupation tax, property tax, and real estate excise tax, among a few other sources.

The expected revenue for Washington is $31.5-billion from 2009 to 2011.  The projected spending for the same time frame is $35.3-billion dollars.  Most of that money will go towards education, public safety, human services, healthcare, and natural resources.

With the revenue being less than the projected spending and a growing deficit, cuts to the budget need to be made.  Staff from the governor's office tell us they prioritized government programs to determine where cuts should be made.  Glen Cooper, the Communications Director for the Office of Financial Management, says, "The biggest priority was making sure that programs for children are least affected by the cuts so those are areas like education."

Some Tri-Citians agree.  Nathina Norris says, "Education is a big one because we have young kids in schools and I'd hate to see funds taken out from there."  Tom Cooper agrees, saying, "I wouldn't cut anything out of education personally.  I have 2 children in the system and education is important."  However, one Tri-Citian disagrees.  Gwen MacCready says, "I think that most of the spending for schools, welfare, etcetera, was just over done."