2011 Legislative Summary

The Legislature adjourned May 25, 2011, following a special session to balance our state budget. A special session called by the Governor was necessary to reach agreement on the 2011–13 budgets. Washington state continues to experience an economic downturn second only to the Great Depression in duration and severity.

Our state’s budget challenge

Over the past three years, the state has cut nearly $10 billion, putting more pressure on the state’s safety net and forcing all of government to do more with less.

Accomplishments within our means

In addition to solving the budget shortfall, we also accomplished a number of actions with existing revenues to benefit the people of Washington, including:

  • Developed a balanced budget with no new revenue, no short-term fixes and no budget gimmicks.

  • Tackled long-term costs by making government leaner and more efficient and by implementing innovative reforms that ensure the state can continue to provide critical services such as health care, education and public safety.

  • Passed a transportation budget that will put 30,000 people to work.

  • Passed a capital budget that sustains another 15,000 jobs.

  • Helped Washington families during these tough times by providing a temporary increase in unemployment benefits to 70,000 citizens.

  • Passed major reforms to give our businesses the confidence they need to start hiring again, including significant changes to our worker’s compensation system and a reduction in unemployment insurance rates.

Use these resources to learn more about actions taken during the 2011 legislative session:

Additional resources