Legislators have released a new report from Olympia, showing taxpayers could be 'punished' to the tune of $500 million in this year's budget.

The legislative session, which began the first week of January, could potentially be $500 million lower but for what GOP leaders are calling "mismanagement."

Several areas were listed where audits have discovered that ineptitude, inefficiency, and waste have cost taxpayers money.  Besides the troublesome mental health system and Western State Hospital, the HCA (Health Care Authority-Obamacare) and Gov. Inslee's travel budget overruns could cost some $87 million.

In a report called Economic Sense, Senator John Braun (Cowlitz, Lewis, Clark and Thurston Counties) lays out areas where the state (and Inslee) have failed miserably when it comes to taxpayers dollars.

When Obamacare was implemented in 2014, the state HCA told legislators the likely savings over a three to five year period could be as much as $730 million dollars due to a series of 'promised' programs and results. However, after five years, the actual savings amounted to just over $1 million, and this year, the HCA is asking for another $85 million.

Another area outlined in the Economic Sense paper,  Gov. Inslee's out of state travels have overstretched his State Patrol Security Detail budget by about $2 million. Most of the 70 days he spent out of state in 2018 were for political events, including the National Governors Conference and Democratic fundraising. The WSP handles his security, so this resulted in lots of overtime. The end result? WSP has had to freeze spending on general fund money, which have set back the State Crime Lab and the Missing Children Task Force.

All told, Braun says better control of spending, less inefficiency, ineptitude and leadership in a variety of areas (plus leaner programs) could keep taxpayers from having to pony up another $500 million in taxes from this legislative session.

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