Published on Apr 08, 2019

The home stretch – three weeks left to make an impact

Contact: Candice Bock

There are just three short weeks left in the 2019 session. This week, most committee action will wrap up with the final fiscal committee cutoff deadline on Tuesday, April 9. After that the focus will really move to final floor action.

Bills that are not NTIB (necessary to implement the budget) must pass out of the opposite house by April 17. There will likely still be some committee action on bills that are NTIB and not subject to the cutoff deadlines.

AWC is still following a variety bills that we highlight in our weekly Hot Sheet. Please share this info with your local legislators.

What’s the status of the budget?

There has been a lot of action on the budgets the last two weeks. During that time both houses introduced, amended, and passed their operating, capital, and transportation budget proposals. This is when the real negotiations begin. The budget writers will start working out what the final compromise will be for the three budgets.

 

This is when the real negotiations begin.

The key to these negotiations will be revenue. Both houses are controlled by Democrats who have determined that new revenue is necessary to meet the existing needs of the state and fulfill funding requirements related to education, behavioral health and other new demands on resources. Check out our article on these tax proposals for more information about their impacts.

For a rundown on how the budget proposals impact cities we have updated our budget matrix and budget highlights sheet. Please share this information with your legislators and ask them to talk to their budget leaders about standing up for cities’ needs. Overall the budget proposals are relatively good for cities since they don’t reduce shared revenues and they do fund priorities like law enforcement training.

However, we are particularly concerned about the following:

  • The House’s proposed sweep of $160 million out of the Public Works Trust Fund (PWTF)
    This would significantly reduce the availability of funds for local infrastructure. We need to continue to remind legislators of the importance of the PWTF and our local infrastructure needs.
  • The added costs for cities of a proposed 3% COLA for PERS 1 retirees (HB 1390)
    The PERS 1 program is already underfunded and costs cities $58 million each year to fill the gap. The new unfunded cost of living increase would result in even higher costs to cities. AWC has advocated for a target COLA approach to help retirees in the most need instead of an across the board increase.

You can also listen to our budget update on the latest edition of AWC’s CityVoice podcast.

With just three weeks left in the session it isn’t too late to share these messages with your legislators. Please take a moment to email them, share this information, and ask them to talk to their budget writers on behalf of cities.

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