Now it’s done: Governor signs budget, vetoes cuts to performance audits

Gov. Inslee yesterday signed the supplemental budget adopted by the Legislature March 29. As the Associated Press reports, Inslee vetoed a couple of provisions, most notably the transfer of funds from a special performance audit account.

The budget increases spending from the two-year $38.2 billion plan adopted last year by about $211 million and does not come with tax increases. Instead, it uses extra money in the state’s general fund and directs money away from state functions and other measures to pay for new priorities.

Inslee vetoed a provision of the budget originally passed by the Legislature in late March intended to shift $10 million away from the state auditor’s Performance Audit account.

Inslee said he believes the performance audits “have value for the state.” 

The Washington Research Council commented on some of the governor’s other vetoes. 

The governor vetoed several provisions of the supplemental. A big one has to do with the public works assistance account (PWAA). Section 935 of the supplemental notes that it is the Legislature’s intent in 2017-19 “to continue the policy since 2013 of not authorizing new loans from the account.”

The enacted 2015-17 biennial budget had stated that it was the Legislature’s intent that in 2017-19, $73.0 million of future loan repayments would be allocated from the PWAA for basic education. The supplemental added another $154.4 million to that…Without the $154.4 million in 2017-19, the budget no longer balances over four years.

The WRC notes,

As we wrote in our report on the supplemental, the four-year balanced budget requirement does would not apply in years (like this one) when appropriations are made from the budget stabilization account.

See WRC update

ESHB 2988, the bill that appropriates funds from the budget stabilization account for wildfire costs this year, specifies that those appropriations do not suspend the four-year balanced budget requirement.

And with that, the state has a supplemental budget.