Skip to main content

King County Budget

King County Budget

King County provides critical local and regional services to millions of people, with a two-year budget of about $15.9 billion, 16,700 employees, and more than 60 different services.

2023-2024 Budget

The 2023-2024 Budget focuses on balancing the budget while making investments in key priorities, including battling the climate crisis, ensuring every person has a home, improving public safety, and uprooting racism.

COVID-19 Response and Recovery Funding

With health and safety as our top priorities, King County has continues to invest in our response to the COVID-19 pandemic and our community’s recovery.


Learn More

If you are interested in having a member of the budget team present to your community group about the King County budget, please reach out to Katie Ross 

King County Budget Process

King County is shifting its biennial budget process. In 2022, King County voters approved an amendment to move elections for most County offices to even years to increase voter participation. We are shifting our biennial budget development process to odd years so that it doesn’t overlap with elections for County offices. This will allow our elected officials to better engage in the decision-making process.  

The budget transition will happen in 2024 and 2025. In 2024, King County will develop a one-year transition budget for 2025. This will be our only one-year budget. In 2025, we will resume our biennial budget process, developing a budget for 2026-2027. The biennial budget process will continue in 2028-2029 and beyond.  

What does this mean for our partners?  

We know this change will have impacts for our partners in neighboring jurisdictions and in the community.  

  • Organizations that would like to advocate for funding from the County should work with County agencies in: 

  • Late 2023 and early 2024 for the 2025 budget 

  • Late 2024 and early 2025 for the 2026-2027 budget 

  • Organizations that receive funding from the County should anticipate: 

  • One year of funding in 2025 

  • Two years of funding in 2026-2027 and beyond  

  • Jurisdictions that coordinate their rate setting processes with the County’s should consider reviewing their statutes and internal budget schedules to ensure there are no gaps.  

Open Budget Dashboard


Open Budget Dashboard Glossary and FAQs

Revenue: Revenues are sources of funding the County estimates to earn that can be used to fund expenditures. The County’s revenue sources include property, sales, and business taxes, charges for services, permits, and licenses, interest earnings, grants, and more. Revenue Accounts: 

  • Charges for Services: Revenues generated through charging for County services, such as bus fares, utility charges, and more 

  • Property Taxes: King County regularly assesses the value of all properties within its boundaries and collects a percentage of the assessed value as a tax. This also includes levies, such as the Best Starts for Kids and Veterans, Seniors, and Human Services levies 

  • Retail Sales and Use Tax: Tax revenue from the sale of retail goods and services 

  • Transfers: Movement of money between funds. 

  • Miscellaneous Revenue: All other sources of revenue not defined elsewhere. Includes many revenues from other departments in the government. 

  • Federal Grants Direct: Grant funds received directly from federal government agencies 

  • Grants from Local Units: Revenue received from local organizations, mostly local governments. 

  • State Grants: Money received from grants from Washington state government agencies 

  • State Entitlements: Revenues that come from state distributions of funds to King County and other local governments that are mandated by state law. 

  • Federal Grants Indirect: Grant funds received by a third party from a federal agency and then subsequently awarded to King County. These funds often carry similar requirements to funds awarded directly by a federal entity. 

  • Interest Earnings: Interest earned from County funds 

  • General Obligation Bonds Issued: Money borrowed by King County by issuing bonds.  

  • Licenses and Permits: Revenues received in exchange for the provision of licenses and permits 

  • Fines and Forfeits: Revenues generated for financial penalties imposed for violations of the law 

  • Business and Other Taxes: Tax revenues from taxes levied on business and other commercial activity including gambling, timber harvesting, and private leases of government property. 

  • Proceeds from Sale of Capital Assets: Revenues generate through the sale of capital assets (surplus vehicles, technology, etc.) 

  • Federal Shared Revenues: Federal revenues shared with King County 

  • Non Revenue Receipts: Budget-only revenue used as a placeholder for revenue that is contingent on certain other conditions being met like payment for additional services. 

  • State Shared Revenues: State tax revenues shared with King County 

  • Intergovernmental Payments: Payments made by one department to another for services 

  • Compensation for Loss/Impnmt of Capital Assets: Financial compensation for the loss of or damage to the County’s capital assets (vehicles, buildings, equipment, etc.) 

  • Gains (Losses): Increases or decreases in the value of County investments. 


Expenditure: An expenditure is an expense that the County is authorized to make by a budget ordinance. Expenditures include salaries and benefits for staff, supplies, interest charges on County debt, capital improvements, and more. Expenditure Accounts: 

  • Wages and Benefits: Salaries and benefits (medical, dental, and health insurance, Social Security, Medicare, etc.) for King County employees 

  • Services – Other Charges: Services purchased from non-King County entities. Includes services like graphic design, consultation from outside experts, and postage. 

  • Intragovernmental Contributions: Payments made by one department to another for their services. Includes payments for centralized services like accounting, human resources management, and IT support. 

  • Interest and other Debt Service Costs: Interest and fees accrued on loans taken out by the County 

  • Supplies: Goods purchased by King County to accomplish government functions. Includes office supplies, vehicle parts, and IT equipment. 

  • Capital Expenditures: Spending on the construction, acquisition, and maintenance of capital facilities and equipment, such as buses, wastewater treatment plants, and more 

  • Principal: Loan repayments for the original amount of the loan 

  • Contingencies: Budget placeholder for expenditures that are contingent on certain other conditions being met like demand for additional services. 

  • Contributions Other: King County contributions to support the work of other entities, generally trade organizations and other governments. 

  • Applied Overhead: Negative expenditure to offset the prorated cost of employee benefits for King County employee time spent supporting other departments or other projects within the department. 

  • Special Budgetary Account: Changes in budget to account for specific known circumstances. Sometimes used to allocate department specific overhead costs among divisions. 

  • Contra Expenditures: Reductions in budget to account for known reasons departments will underspend budget. Generally reduces budget to account for vacancies in budgeted positions.  


King County Fiduciary Organizations: The department named “King County Fiduciary Organizations” (KCFID), is a grouping of budgeted revenues and expenditures that do not fall within any particular department. These include transfers from the General Fund to other funds, debt payments, and General Fund flexible revenues.  It also includes the County’s Jobs and Housing program, which you can learn more about here: King County Jobs and Housing Program - King County. 


Non-King County: There are 2 employees who support King County’s Boundary Review Board and do not fall under a certain County department. The Boundary Review Board is a state-mandated entity that provides independent review for creation of or changes to boundaries by cities and special purpose districts (fire districts, water/sewer districts, etc.) within King County. You can learn more about the Board here: About us - King County. Some expenditures are also allocated for the “State Examiner”, which are dollars set aside for paying the Washington State Auditor’s office for their annual audits of the County.  


FTE: Positions allocated by the County’s adopted budget are measured on a Full Time Equivalent (FTE) basis. Positions may be full or part-time; a position budgeted to work 40 hours a week would be counted as 1 FTE, while a position budgeted to work 20 hours a week would be counted as .5 FTE, for example. It’s important to note that the position data included in the dashboard represents how many positions are budgeted, not the actual number of people working at the County at a given time.  

Why does King County have a one-year budget in 2025? 

King County is shifting the budget development cycle from even-numbered years to odd numbered years. In 2024 King County will develop a one-year transitional budget for 2025 and the following year, the County will develop the 2026-2027 biennial budget.  The County is doing this to align the budget process with the new election cycle. In 2022, voters approved Charter Amendment 1 which moves the election of twelve County officials from odd-years to even-years. This move will result in a much larger number of voters -- up to twice as many! -- participating in the selection of our future leaders. Elected officials will be busy campaigning in even numbered years, especially in the fall which is when the Council makes budget decisions. The budget development cycle is moving to maintain leadership engagement in decision-making.   


What is the General Fund? 

The County’s General Fund is its only truly flexible money that can be used for any lawful purpose. General Fund revenues and expenditures are those associated with traditional county services in Washington State. Many General Fund revenues are designated for funding specific programs and services, leaving only about half of the fund to be used freely as the County sees fit 


Why are expenditures higher than revenues in the General Fund? 

King County is required to adopt a budget that balances expenditures against available financial resources. While revenues are the primary resource we utilize, the budgets for many funds also draw upon balances of funds earned in prior years (fund balance). Fund balance generally accrues because  adopted budgets typically slightly overestimate the actual expenditures the County will spend in a given period. This dashboard shows dollar amounts that the County is authorized by the Council to spend, but not a reflection of how much money the County actually spends or earns in revenues during the budget period. Any revenue earned above actual expenditures is added to fund balance and can be budgeted in future years, which is why most budgets have higher expenditures than revenues.  


Why are there some funds that have negative expenditures? 

Occasionally, certain capital funds may show a negative value for expenditures in a given period. This can happen for a variety of reasons. The project(s) paid for by the fund may have been completed for less than originally budgeted, so remaining budget is removed, which is represented by a negative expense. There also may not be enough revenue in a capital fund to support a project, so the project may be deferred and the budget originally set aside for the project will be removed 


How often is the dashboard updated? 

The dashboard is updated regularly as new budgets are passed, which typically happens several times throughout the year. There may be delays between the adoption of a budget and inputting new budget data into the dashboard, so the numbers in the dashboard may not reflect the most updated version of the County’s budget if a new budget was recently updated.  


What does MIDD mean? 

MIDD is an acronym seen in several places on the dashboard, particularly for agencies that make up the County’s legal system. MIDD stands for Mental Illness and Drug Dependency and is a .1% countywide sales tax. The funding is designated to support programs and services for people living with or at risk of behavioral health conditions. In addition to several programs managed by the Department of Community and Human Services, MIDD funds therapeutic courts and other legal system services in King County. You can learn more about the MIDD program here: MIDD Behavioral Health Sales Tax Fund - King County. 


Where can I find more information about the County’s budget or the dashboard? 

You can learn more about the County’s budget by clicking on the tabs for specific budgets in the menu at the top left of this page. You can also view the County Council’s budget webpage here. 

If you have any questions about the Open Budget Dashboard, please contact Katie Ross at 

Quarterly Budget Reports 

Quarterly Budget Reports provide a brief update to the King County Council on the health of our funds, as well as the financial status of capital projects.

2023 Quarterly Budget Reports

2022 Quarterly Budget Reports