Olympia (March 23, 2017) – As WSAC staff have had more time to analyze the Senate budget proposal that was released and heard on Tuesday, more and more problems have come to light. While we were initially relieved to see that traditionally shared revenue sources were not impacted, the Senate is able to raise new revenue for the state by tapping into a variety of other fund sources, including many that are distributed to counties, or that will cause downstream impacts on counties.
For example, the Senate assumes state budget savings in the state prison system by transferring offenders to county jails. This policy is implemented in SB 5904. While the state can calculate the amount they won’t be spending anymore, it is very difficult to determine how much this will cost counties.
Ironically, the Senate also eliminates funding for the state Local Government Fiscal Note Program, the program that provides information to the Legislature about the fiscal impact of their proposals on counties and cities. Apparently, the Senate literally doesn’t want to know what their bills will cost counties. WSAC staff submitted a letter stating their concerns and can be viewed below.