Washington enacts budgets on a two-year cycle, beginning on July 1 of each odd-numbered year. The budget approved for the 2013-15 biennium remains in effect from July 1, 2013 through June 30, 2015. By law, the Governor must propose a biennial budget in December, the month before the Legislature convenes in regular session. The biennial budget enacted by the Legislature can be modified in any legislative session through changes to the original appropriations. Since the inception of annual legislative sessions in 1979, it has become common for the Legislature to enact annual revisions to the state’s biennial budget. These revisions are referred to as supplemental budgets.
The Washington State Department of Transportation is responsible for developing budget estimates and submitting budget proposals to the Governor. Once the budget is enacted by the Legislature and approved by the Governor, WSDOT implements approved policies and programs within the budgetary limits imposed by legislation. Under Washington’s budget and accounting statutes, the Secretary of Transportation is accountable for carrying out the legal intent of the appropriations made to the department.