Published on Apr 15, 2019

Final cutoff looms while budget negotiations are ongoing

Contact: Candice Bock

April 17 is the final cutoff deadline for bills that are not NTIB (necessary to implement the budget) to pass out of the opposite house. There are still around 550 bills in play, out of more than 2,100 introduced. This means policy bills that do not have a connection to the budget must pass out of the opposite house by the end of business on Wednesday to remain active this session. Bills that have passed both houses by this cutoff are subject to one of two further actions:

  1. If the bill was amended by the opposite house, then it needs to go back to its house of origin for concurrence. (If the house of origin does not concur, it can be sent to conference committee to iron out the differences, or else it dies.)
  2. A bill that has passed both houses in the same form is sent to the Governor for signature. The Governor has either 5 days or 20 days to sign the bill – depending on when it is passed and transmitted. The Governor can either sign the bill into law, veto the whole bill, or veto a section of the bill and sign the rest into law. To find out if the Governor has signed a bill, or when he may sign it, visit the Governor’s Bill Action page for more information about the bill signing process.

AWC continues to watch a variety of bills. You can check out where they are in the process with our Hot Sheet.

Budget action alert

Last week AWC sent out a budget action alert asking our members to contact your legislators with some key city budget messages. Budget negotiators are meeting to work out the final versions of the budget prior to the April 28 adjournment. Now is when the speculation starts to occur. There are any number of rumors about what may happen, including the need for a special session overtime to reach final agreement. However, at this point they are just that—rumors.

 

However, at this point they are just that—rumors.

We ask cities to remain focused and engaged so that we can continue to deliver our 3 key budget messages to legislators:

1. Thank them for protecting state shared revenues to cities
Thank legislators for making key investments in affordable housing and behavioral health, and for funding 19 classes of the Basic Law Enforcement Academy (BLEA).

2. Ask them to support two items in the final version of the budget

  • HB 1406 – Affordable housing local option sales tax
    This bill funds a new partnership between the state and local governments in support of affordable housing. This new local option sales tax will provide $70 million per biennium for a flexible funding source to address each city's unique affordable housing needs. The proposal is funded in the House budget.
  • SB 5993 – Model Toxics Control Account (MTCA) reform and stabilization assumed in the Senate capital budget
    This bill would stabilize funding for MTCA programs and provide additional funding for stormwater, solid waste, and remedial site cleanup projects. The Senate budget includes $28.4 million for solid waste financial assistance grants.

3. Tell them cities are opposed to the following two items:

  • Further diversions from Public Works Trust Fund (PWTF)
    The House budget continues a sweep of $160 million to education. Both House and Senate budgets continue the diversions of REET, solid waste utility revenues, and public utility tax revenues. Cities oppose diversions of PWTF money into education and other programs. In addition, cities have been clear that we will not support funding for new programs at the expense of other infrastructure funding.
  • The added costs for cities of a proposed 3% COLA for PERS 1 retirees (HB 1390)
    The new, unfunded cost of living adjustment (COLA) would result in even higher unfunded pension costs to cities. This proposal would cost local governments $13.3 million in the 2019-21 biennium and more than $80 million over the next ten years. This is on top of the $175 million local governments pay in annual PERS 1 unfunded liability costs. AWC has advocated for a targeted COLA approach to help retirees in the most need instead of a broadly applied benefit increase.

For more information, see AWC's budget highlight sheet for a comparison of key differences between the House and Senate budgets. Please share this information with your legislators and ask them to stand with cities.

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