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Budget Basics

Budget Process

What's the process?

At its most basic, the budget process is as follows:
  1. State agencies submit their funding requests.
  2. The Governor reviews agency requests and prepares a proposed budget
  3. The Legislature reviews the Governor's proposed budget, develops and debates a proposed budget, and passes it.
  4. The Governor reviews the passed budget and signs it into law, vetoes it, or partially vetoes it.

How long does it take?

The process begins with agencies preparing budget requests in the summer for the following legislative session, which begins on the second Monday of every January. The budgets take effect on July 1 following the legislative session in which they're passed.

How many budgets are prepared?

For legislative session in odd-numbered years, the steps described above are done for the biennial budget (covering two years) and the supplemental budget (updates to the previous or current biennial budget). In addition, they are done for each budget type, operating, capital, and transportation. That means there are six different budgets prepared and passed in odd-numbered years. In these years, the Legislature meets for 105 days.

In even-numbered years, only a supplemental budget is prepared for each budget type to update the current biennial budget. There are total of three budgets prepared and passed in these years and the Legislature is in session for 60 days.

How can I track the budget process and details?

Within each of the main steps above, many actions must take place to meet certain milestones throughout the process. You can track some of those actions and milestones using this fiscal.wa.gov website.