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Understanding the Tax System

Washington State's most recent two-year operating budget relies on more than $35 billion of tax dollars. The Legislature and the governor are responsible for the state budget and tax policy. The Office of the State Treasurer does not collect the majority of the state's tax revenue nor does it set spending policy.

If you are interested in state tax policy, spending or the state economy, we've aggregated the following links to help explain the process.

Tax Collections

The State Department of Revenue is the state's principal tax collection agency. It oversees about 60 different taxes. The agency collects 96 percent of state General Fund tax revenues and all local sales tax revenues.

For more information visit:

The governor and the Legislature rely on non-partisan estimates of anticipated tax collections and the need for services to write and balance the state budget.

The state Caseload Forecast Council estimates how many citizens are expected to request services such as education, corrections and human services programs. Learn more about caseload forecasting.

The Economic and Revenue Forecast Council provides non-partisan estimates of anticipated tax collections. The Council's web site and reports are excellent resources for understanding the forces that shape our state's economy.

Budget Development

With revenue information at hand, the Office of Financial Management (OFM) provides budget, policy, and fiscal planning for the Governor's office. Their budget research and development is used by the Governor and later the Legislature is the production of the state's budget. Click one of the links below to learn more about Washington's budget, read fiscal reports, or review economic data.