Yesterday the House and Senate budget chairs released their supplemental budget proposals. In The Seattle Times, Joseph O’Sullivan reports,
The proposals make tweaks to the 2019-21 $52.4 billion state operating budget lawmakers approved last spring. And they’re funded by a windfall of higher-than-expected tax collections that have given lawmakers roughly $1.5 billion in additional dollars for this budget cycle.
Buoyed by those dollars, both new proposals boost spending without raising taxes or drawing down budget reserves, according to House and Senate budget writers.
Jim Camden reports in the Spokesman-Review,
Among the areas for large increases in spending are programs to fight homelessness and secure affordable housing, improve the environment and boost spending on mental health care.
House Appropriations Committee Chairman Timm Ormsby, D-Spokane, said the House budget increases spending with “important and valuable investments focused on areas that need to be addressed right now.”
Republicans, however, criticized the budgets for not giving some of that money back to residents in the form of tax cuts…
The House and Senate operating budgets are similar, but not identical.
Similar enough that it’s likely lawmakers will have little difficulty reaching agreement. Camden writes,
The budgets are subject to change after committee hearings and with amendments accepted when they come to a vote in the full House or Senate, with compromises between those spending plans and the one released by Gov. Jay Inslee in December. A budget agreement would have to be passed by both chambers by March 12.
Rolfes predicted the Legislature would reach a budget compromise by that deadline because “we share the same values as the House does.”
More in the Associated Press.
Of the House plan, the WRC points out,
The House Appropriations Committee Chair has released his 2020 supplemental operating budget proposal. It would increase appropriations from funds subject to the outlook (NGFO) by $1.172 billion. Of that, $1.029 billion is new policy changes and $144 million is maintenance level (the cost of continuing current services).
The proposal would transfer $19.3 million from the general fund to the disaster response account. It assumes passage of revenue legislation that would reduce revenues by $50.3 million in 2019–21 and $71.0 million in 2021–23.
The proposal would leave unrestricted ending balances of $627 million in 2019–21 and $59 million in 2021–23. It would not make appropriations from the rainy day fund.
Regarding the Senate,
The Senate Ways & Means Committee Chair has released her proposed 2020 supplemental operating budget. It would increase 2019–21 appropriations from funds subject to the outlook (NGFO) by $1.141 billion. Of that, $997.1 million is new policy and $143.4 million is maintenance level increases (the cost of continuing current services).
The budget assumes passage of legislation that would reduce revenues by $10.3 million in 2019–21 and increase revenues by $27.2 million in 2021–23. It would transfer $25.0 million from the general fund to the multimodal transportation account.
The proposal would balance over four years, leaving unrestricted NGFO ending balances of $762 million in 2019–21 and $84 million in 2021–23. The rainy day fund would have $2.180 billion in 2019–21 and $2.804 billion in 2021–23.
From here on, things are expected to move swiftly toward an on-time adjournment. As anticipated, we’re dealing with tweaks, not major policy initiatives. The path has clearly been made easier by the revenue growth.