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Study: Washington Residents Paying Hefty Price for Lackluster Legislative Output

US Map showing paid per production unit of each state's legislature.

Despite elite salaries, the Washington legislature's productivity and cost-efficiency are miles behind leanly run yet highly effective states like Texas.

WASHINGTON, UNITED STATES, May 28, 2024 / -- A comprehensive new analysis reveals that taxpayers in Washington state are getting a raw deal regarding the productivity of their legislature relative to its costs.

The nationwide study from PlayUSA examined legislative compensation levels across all 50 states. It measured spending against each state's output in the 2023 legislative session based on the number of bills introduced and passed. The results show that Washington ranked among the country's worst for cost efficiency.

"Despite paying their lawmakers nearly $60,000 per year on average, residents of the Evergreen State are simply not getting sufficient bang for their buck," said Walter Yuhl for PlayUSA. "Washington landed squarely in the bottom ten states for extracting good value from its legislative body."

Specifically, the analysis calculated that Washington spent $114.91 per "unit of productivity" from its legislature, making it the 4th worst cost-efficiency ratio in the nation. Each unit represents the scaled output of bills introduced and passed.

Other findings for Washington include:
- The $57,876 average pay for state lawmakers in 2023 placed them among the Top 10 highest-compensated legislative bodies nationally.
- However, Washington's legislature introduced just 1,338 bills (26th) and passed 405 (21st) - middling output at best.
- By comparison, Texas topped the cost-efficiency rankings by driving high volumes of legislation at modest average costs of $7,200 per lawmaker.
- Even some states with lower pay, like New Jersey ($28,600 avg.) and Tennessee ($25,200 avg.), had significantly more productive legislatures per dollar spent.

The full report, including rankings for all 50 states and details on the methodology, can be found on the PlayUSA blog: Legislative ROI: What States Are Giving Taxpayers Their Money’s Worth?

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About PlayUSA

PlayUSA provides reliable and trustworthy content and resources about the legal and regulated US gambling industry. Based in the United States, is part of the Catena Media portfolio of sites and is an independently owned and operated commercial organization. It is not directly affiliated with any one casino or gaming website.

Kimberly Yuhl
Catena Media

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