Both the House and Senate will release proposed supplemental operating budgets this week. The State Economic and Revenue Forecast Council released its quarterly revenue forecast last Thursday, predicting that budget writers would have another $650 million in the current biennium and $671 million in the next biennium. State revenues have grown by 15% in the last two years. Rumors have abounded that the legislature will provide a property tax refund to help mitigate last year’s McCleary tax increase. WSAC will send a summary of both proposals as soon as we are able to synthesize them.
This Friday is also the cutoff date to move policy bills out of committee, with fiscal cutoff following on next Monday. Typically, the session starts to close pretty quickly once the supplemental budget proposals are released.
This week we will be talking to members of the Senate Local Government Committee, encouraging them not to move HB 2887. This bill would change the structure of county boards of commissioners on any county over 400,000 in population, providing 5 commissioners elected by district. WSAC has consistently opposed these types of proposals as not being consistent with the constitution’s “uniformity” requirement for county government.
SB 6321 would divert 6% of the revenue collected by counties from PUD’s in lieu of property taxes to fire districts. Fire districts argue that they should be paid for services provided to counties. WSAC is opposing this measure.