Published on Dec 17, 2018

A mixed review of the Governor’s proposed budget

Contact: Candice Bock

The 2019 Legislative Session is four weeks away. Now is crunch time for adopting your cities’ legislative agenda and sharing it with your local legislators. We appreciate all of the cities who have already adopted their agendas and shared them with AWC. Please keep them coming. If you need some inspiration, check out our webpage where we are posting some of the agendas we have received.

Much of the work to be done during the 2019 session is the development and adoption of the 2019-2021 budget. That work officially kicked off with the release of Governor Inslee’s budget proposal last week. The Governor’s budget often serves as a starting point for the legislators, who will draft their own version. Additionally, it serves as an opportunity for the Governor to highlight his policy priorities. Details for some of those priorities were also shared last week – including clean energy and behavioral health transformation. One of the most notable pieces of the Governor’s proposal was the new revenue that he is recommending from a capital gains tax, an increase in the state B&O tax on services, and a graduated approach on Real Estate Excise Tax (REET).

The Governor’s budget proposals (operating, capital, and transportation) were mixed for cities. Some good news to start: the proposed budget includes funding for 19 Basic Law Enforcement Academy (BLEA) classes per year. In the mixed category, the budget only funds half of what was expected for cannabis revenue sharing with cities and counties. Also in the mixed category is the Public Works Trust Fund where some of the revenue is being diverted to other funding programs including a new broadband program. Additionally, the budget only funds half of the amount requested for local culvert replacement.

Given the amount of new revenue being proposed and the positive impact the strong economy has had on the state’s existing revenue, the reductions in funding for city priorities are disappointing. However, this is a starting point and we continue to discuss the importance of full funding with legislators. A full rundown of the Governor’s budget and its impact for cities is here.

Look for our next Bulletin on January 14, the first day of Session. Until then, the AWC Government Relations team wishes you a happy and safe holiday season.

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