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Reviewing state budgets and spending ahead of upcoming legislative sessions

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Legislators in Idaho, Montana, Washington, and Wyoming are preparing to head back to their respective capitals this January to begin their governing work.

In some states, policymakers will be dealing with major issues regarding homelessness and crime. In other states, lawmakers will be reviewing ideas to improve a business climate or lower the tax burden.


One thing all states have in common is the requirement to produce a budget. But how much is enough? Is the tax burden too high? Are government budgets under or overspending? And how does each state arrive at a budget?


  1. Wyoming has the shortest legislative session and Washington has the longest                                                        

  2. Idaho’s legislative session typically lasts 75-90 days                                      

  3. Spending increases over the past decade are more pronounced in Idaho and Washington                            

  4. Policymakers should pay close attention to their state rainy day funds, which can help shield state taxpayers from economic storms              

  5. Idaho’s rainy-day fund would allow the state to operate normally for at least 75 days, while Washington’s rainy-day funds allow for just four days of operation

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