Thrive Washington suggests positive ideas to put state on sustainable budget path

Thrive Washington, a research and communications partnership between the Research Council and Washington Roundtable, has looked at budget reforms, contracting out, and health care policy. This series of white papers provides a good platform for responsible state budgeting in hard times. And, these proposals will accelerate the transition to better times.

Going Beyond Just Cutting Government

There is a good piece in the Wall Street Journal on reinventing government.  Written by Louis Gerstner (a former CEO of IBM), it ties in nicely with what the Washington Roundtable and the Research Council are doing with our Thrive Washington series.  Gerstner's recommendations for governments (at all levels) are:

House-passed 2011 Supplemental

On Monday, the House passed a 2011 supplemental bill that reduces the NGFS shortfall by $346 million.  (The vote on final passage was 55-43.)  Our brief on the bill is available here.

Unfortunately, although it does make significant spending cuts, the bill does not fully address the shortfall--some $160 million remains.  In the brief, we compare the cuts in the House-passed bill to the Governor's proposal and to the Republican striking amendment (which was rejected, 41-57).

Washington drops from 5th to 6th in Milken Science and Technology Index

The Milken Institute today released its 2010 State Science and Technology Index. Washington fell to 6th from the 5th place it held in the 2008 Milken rankings, while Utah moved up to 5th from 8th. Massachusetts, Maryland, Colorado and California retained the top four spots. The report notes:

House GOP 2011 Supplemental Amendment

Yesterday Rep. Alexander released an amendment to strike SHB 1086, the 2011 Supplemental bill that was approved by the House Ways and Means (W&M) committee earlier this week.  (The amendment and a summary of its effects can be accessed here.)

How to Contain Health Care Spending

Yesterday the latest paper in the Thrive Washington series was released: Containing State Health Care Spending While Improving Outcomes.

This was a timely release, given the vote yesterday in the U.S. House of Representatives to repeal federal health care reform and the major cuts in health spending that are being contemplated in the Washington legislature.

The House Democrats' 2011 Supplemental

Yesterday the House Democrats released their proposed 2011 Supplemental (HB 1086).  It does not cut as deeply as the governor's proposal, which would cut $255 million (NGFS+Opportunity Pathways).  Instead, the House Democrats would cut $216 million.  Some differences are:

About Those Tuition Increases...

The theme of this week's posts at the Becker-Posner blog is tuition increases at public universities. 

Posner argues that keeping tuition low for all students--regardless of ability to pay--is unwarranted:

Public-Sector Unions

The Economist has an interesting article on public-sector unions in the U.S. and elsewhere (and the challenges they face as governments cut back on spending).  They note that union density in the public sector is much stronger than that in the private sector. This is true both nationally in the U.S. and in Washington.

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