State Treasurer to Donate Salary Increase to the Rainy Day Fund
State Treasurer Duane Davidson made the determination last week that he will donate his salary increase to the state’s Budget Stabilization Account, also known as the state’s rainy day fund, as Washington aims to reduce government spending by implementing a wage freeze for state employees in the wake of expected revenue loss.
A sitting member of the Economic Forecast Review Council (ERFC), Treasurer Davidson heard firsthand during the June revenue forecast meeting the report detailing expected revenue losses for the state and predicted significant decline in revenues for the remainder of 2020 as a result of the coronavirus epidemic.
“We are facing an unprecedented decline in both employment and revenue, so I wanted to stress the value of maintaining a healthy rainy day fund which helps the state make it through tough times like these,” Treasurer Davidson said.
An independent citizen commission sets salaries for state elected officials, approving wages for a biennium at a time. The commission cannot deviate once the pay schedule is set, leaving the decision up to elected officials of what to do their own salary increase. Several elected officials announced plans to donate their salary increase to local charities.
Focusing once more on making fiscally conservative decisions for the State of Washington, Treasurer Davidson is donating his salary increase to the rainy day fund to highlight the importance of emergency savings and focus more on giving back to the state to fall in line with the intent of ongoing budget reduction efforts, including state employee furloughs and the elimination of salary increases for thousands.
“We should be focusing on the state’s dire financial situation right now, which is the point I’m trying to make with my donation. While I fully understand that my contribution is just a very small drop in the large bucket that is the rainy day fund, I think it’s important to draw attention to where it’s needed and change attitudes about building and protecting our reserves,” Treasurer Davidson said.
The Treasurer expressed to fellow council members at the June 17 ERFC forecast presentation the importance maintaining a robust rainy day fund. Commenting during the meeting that he wants to see extra funding of the account going forward. “I hope we have a new attitude in the future of funding the rainy day fund higher than we’ve done before,” the Treasurer stated.