State House and Senate budget proposals to be released this week – plenty of “unknowns”

Credit to the Washington Research Council for posting on the anticipated release of House and Senate budgets at the end of this week.

The Senate W&M Chair will release her operating budget proposal on Thursday at 1 pm, with a hearing scheduled for Friday at 1 pm. Sen. Rolfes said, “It’ll be a budget like nothing you’ve ever seen because there’s a lot of unknowns.”

Meanwhile, the House Appropriations Chair is expected to release his operating budget proposal Friday at 3 pm, with a hearing Saturday at 9 am.

Although it goes without saying, it will certainly be said by someone, that there’s not going to be a lot of time for public review between the time of the release and the time of the hearing. But that’s not unusual.

Among the uncertainties surrounding budget preparations is the uses to which federal dollars can be put. The sums are substantial. The WRC post includes a spreadsheet. We’ll just quote this:

on Friday, the Senate Ways & Means (W&M) Committee heard from the Office of Financial Management (OFM) about the federal funding for Washington in the ARP Act. According to OFM, the state of Washington will get $10.64 billion. (The estimate was as of March 16, so it does not include any allocations for vaccines and testing. It also does not include the local fiscal recovery fund.) As OFM notes in its presentation, some of this funding will be directly administered by the state, and some will be allocated via formula “with minimal or no state intervention.”

With the new testing money and some additional items included in OFM’s presentation, I estimate that federal ARP Act money flowing through Washington’s state and local governments will be $12.211 billion. (This is still an incomplete estimate, as not all allocations are known yet.)

Should be an interesting few weeks.