Opinion: 2022 supplemental budget brings huge increase in inflation-adjusted per-capita spending

Jason Mercier of the Washington Policy Center shares data that illustrates ongoing spending increases adopted by Washington lawmakers

Jason Mercier
Washington Policy Center

By now you’ve probably heard that lawmakers massively increased state spending when adopting the 2022 supplemental budget while ignoring calls for broad-based tax relief. Some will say that a huge spending increase was necessary due to population and inflation increases. 

Thanks to data provided by LEAP, however, we can see the ongoing spending increases adopted by lawmakers have far exceeded the state’s population growth. Here are details on inflation-adjusted per-capita state spending since 1970 reflecting the recently adopted budget:

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For example, inflation-adjusted per-capita state spending in 2016 was $2,289. That spending number is now projected to be $3,244 in 2023 after the adoption of the 2022 supplemental budget. When adding total spending, that number has grown even faster. Total inflation-adjusted per-capita spending in 2016 was $4,165 and is now projected to be $5,439 in 2023.

No matter how you measure Washington’s spending increases, it has been substantial and accelerated in recent years far beyond inflation and population growth.

Jason Mercier is the director of the Center for Government Reform at the Washington Policy Center.

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