LSC Meeting March 16, 2017

Photo taken by Paige DeChambeau on March 16, 2017.

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.

Senate Budget Concerns Letter:

Senate-Budget-Letter

Click on the image to read the full letter.

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Josh Weiss started working in Olympia in 1998 and in addition to spending the last 8 years at WSAC, has served as nonpartisan counsel to the House of Representatives, Legislative Director for the Department of Fish and Wildlife, and Environmental Policy Director for the Washington Forest Protection Association representing private forest landowners. Josh is a graduate of Central Washington University and the Vermont Law School, and is a fourth generation Washingtonian.