Last Thursday, Governor Inslee released his proposed 2019 budgets. Generally, the governor’s budgets are seen as an executive and judicial branch “wish list” that the legislature will consider along with their own priorities. The following is a summary list of the expenditures and new revenue proposed by Governor Inslee that may be of interest to the Counties. We won’t see draft legislative budgets for several weeks.

Overview

  • Total expenditures equal $54.6 billion. This is a $10 billion increase (22%) over the current budget.
  • The revenue forecast projects $50 billion.  Governor Inslee finances the remaining $5 billion by:
  • Raising the service B&O rate from 1.5% to 2.5%, which would add $2.6 billion in 2019-21.
  • Adding a capital gains tax that would raise $1 billion.
  • Reducing unrestricted reserves by over $1 billion and doing $250 million in fund transfers.
  • Internet sales tax totaling $123 million.
  • Governor Inslee proposes doubling the K-12 local property tax limit.

WSAC Requests

  • The Governor did not invest any new resources in county indigent defense costs
  • Fully funds WDFW PILT
  • Funds $22 million of the requested $296 million for foundational public health services
  • No significant investment in fish passage barrier removal for local governments

Notable Expenditures – Human Services, Housing, Claw and Justice, and Public Safety

Public Safety

  • The Governor didnotinvest any new resources on county indigent defense costs.  However, the Governor provided $700,000 to go to organizations that provide legal representation to indigent persons needing help with their immigration status.
  • $10 million is provided for the completion of the transition and operation of the new 911 system.
  • $7.9 million provided for jail bed rate increases to reflect actual costs incurred to house DOC violators in local jails.
  • $4.5 million for an additional 9 Basic Law Enforcement Academy classes in addition to the existing funding for 10.
  • $300,000 to engage a study of the WSP crime and toxicology lab.
  • $2 million to cover increased contract costs and create a substance abuse recovery therapeutic community at the Yakima women’s jail.
  • A savings of $8 million by implementing “swift and certain” sentencing for community violations.
  • $510,000 for county criminal justice services.
  • $3.3 million for toxicology laboratory staffing.
  • $2.6 million for DNA laboratory staffing.

Courts (Supreme Court Budget)

  • $2.2 million for the Thurston County impact fee.
  • $729,000 for family and juvenile court improvement.
  • $2.2 million for trial court funding language access.
  • $911,00 for judicial officer and staff training and $496,000 for online training.
  • $2 million to retain staff to adequately support the superior courts and county clerks with the Odyssey case management system and $574,000 to further enhance the program.
  • $1.6 million to replace aged computer equipment at the courts and county clerk offices.

Human Services

  • $110 million in bonds dedicated to building 2,500 affordable housing units.
  • $10 million to preserve 670 aging affordable housing units for low-income and vulnerable individuals and families.
  • $10 million to create 156 units of net-zero (low or no-energy cost) affordable housing.
  • $20 million in bonds to expand buildable land footprints by cleaning up hazardous sites and for grants to local governments to reduce the costs of developing affordable housing.
  • $5 million in bonds for the rural rehabilitation loan program.
  • $31.2 million in bonds to fund 25 eligible projects that involve the acquisition, construction, or rehabilitation of a nonresidential facility that must be located in a distressed community or serve a substantial number of low-income or disadvantaged persons.
  • $110 million in bonds to help divert and transition people from the state hospitals and establish community capacity for more than 500 new behavioral health beds.
  • $31 million in bonds to begin work on state-operated civil behavioral health facilities of which $23 M will be for predesign and design of four 16 bed and two 48-bed facilities.  The remaining $8.3 M is for predesign of three 150-bed facilities.
  • $38.5 million to provide a mix of permanent supportive housing and temporary rental assistance for more than 1,000 families.
  • $34.3 million is provided for permanent supportive housing services for those who are chronically homeless by leveraging benefits offered through Medicaid Foundational Community Supports.
  • $4 million to fund permanent supportive housing for people with a history of mental illness.
  • $8 million to expand housing services to youth and young adults, ages 12-24, in four pilot communities:  Pierce County, Spokane, Walla Walla, and Yakima.
  • $12 million to increase funding to the Consolidated Homeless Grant Program which helps people obtain and maintain housing.
  • $4.3 million is included to enable buildable lands counties to conduct buildable lands analyses that will address zoning and land use regulations.
  • $10.8 million to provide 100 community residential placements in state-operated living alternatives for individuals seeking a community placement to be phased in over 4 years.
  • $5.3 million to expand overnight planned respite services for adults and enhanced respite for children by six beds each.  Increases the current daily rate from $374 to $450-550 for adult services and from $350-$448 to $400-$510 for children’s services starting July 1, 2019.
  • $49.6 million to provide 440 additional community placement beds for patients discharging from the state psychiatric hospitals including beds in enhanced service facilities, adult family homes, skilled nursing facilities, shared supportive housing, assisted living facilities, specialized dementia facilities, and SOLAs.
  • $80 million to create four intensive behavioral health community treatment facilities across the state for those discharged into the community from the state hospitals who possess higher levels of behavioral challenges.
  • $2.4 million to create five mental health drop-in facilities across the state to divert individuals from crisis services and inpatient level care.
  • $2.8 million dedicated to intensive wraparound services for adults discharging from the state hospitals to alternative community placements.
  • $2 million to expand supported employment services to an additional 428 eligible individuals with the most significant developmental disabilities.

Notable Expenditures – Land Use,  Solid Waste, Water, and Environment

  • $12 million is included to maximize existing capacity at WDFW hatcheries to produce an additional 18.6 million salmon smolts to increase prey abundance for Southern Resident Orcas in the near term.
  • $75.7 million is included in the capital budget for hatchery facility improvements.
  • $750,000 is included for a task force to lead a stakeholder process to discuss the associated economic and social impacts, as well as mitigation costs, of the potential breaching or removal of the lower Snake River dams.
  • $524,000 is included to examine issues related to reestablishing salmon populations above Chief Joseph Dam on the Columbia.
  • $751,000 is provided to support rulemaking that would require tug escorts for barges transporting oil through high-risk areas of Puget Sound in order to reduce the risk of oil spills.
  • $57.5 million for clean energy projects, including the state’s solar incentive program.
  • $66 million in the capital budget for the Stormwater Financial Assistance Program.
  • $42.8 million in the capital budget for the Floodplains by Design program.
  • $85 million in the capital budget for Salmon Recovery Funding Board projects.
  • $8 million to continue the implementation of the new requirements for the Buildable Lands program.
  • $600,000 for Ecology to investigate candidate basins for water rights adjudication.
  • $1.5 million for staffing the Office of Chelan Basin.
  • $6 million to restore funds for litter pickup and to address China-imposed import restrictions on recyclables and to work to clean up the recycling stream.
  • Shifts $20 million of items currently funded from MTCA back to the General Fund.
  • $50 million in the capital budget for the Chehalis Basin Strategy.
  • $31.5 million in the capital budget for the Yakima Basin Integrated Plan.
  • $34.4 million in the capital budget for the Columbia River Basin water supply projects.
  • $17 million to improve the State’s ability to respond to wildfires, including 15 permanent firefighters/engine leaders, 2 additional helicopters, expanding correctional crews, and enhancing state and local crew training.
  • $4.9 million for improving forest health.
  • $18.2 million in the capital budget for forest hazard reductions.
  • $3 million to boost cannabis enforcement and licensing activities.
  • $2 million is provided to establish a competitive grant program targeted to local economic development organizations to provide resources for asset mapping, regional strategic planning, and industrial site readiness.
  • $4.3 million to support clean energy transition and $430,000 to create the Washington Clean Energy Act.
  • $1.2 million to create the State Broadband Office.

Notable Expenditures – Public Health, Healthcare, and Environmental Health 

  • $22 million over the biennium that builds FPHS into the base budget.  This includes funding for all parts of the governmental public health system to work in areas of communicable disease, environmental public health, assessment.
  • $44.6 million to create a new universal home visiting and universal newborn screen assessment program to serve 16,854 families in the biennium.
  • $8.9 million to cover the projected revenue shortfall legislation to raise the legal age for tobacco products from 18 to 21 (Tobacco 21) would create.
  • $399,000 to modernize the vital statistics law (Chapter 70.58 RCW) because it does not provide adequate protection against identity theft and fraud. This proposal includes a vital record base certificate fee increase of $20 to $25, as well as authority to establish new fees in rules for programmatic services (non-GFS).
  • $1,012,000will enable the department to work with local public health to ensure the approximately 13,400 Group B public water systems comply with statewide rules and provide safe and reliable drinking water.
  • $20 million to provide enforcement grants to ensure compliant solid waste facilities protect human health and the environment, reducing human exposure to toxins.  It also supports local solid and hazardous waste activities including waste reduction, recycling, and reuse programs. Funds are split between local solid waste management programs and local health jurisdictions (environmental health programs).
  • $3 million to add local government capacity to assist small businesses on managing chemicals and hazardous waste to prevent spills, prevent stormwater pollution, and prevent workplace injuries.

Notable Expenditures – Public Works and Transportation

Transportation

  • Full funding for the County Road Administrative Board (CRAB).
  • Full funding for the Transportation Improvement Board (TIB).
  • Full funding for the Freight Mobility Strategic Investment Board (FMSIB).
  • No new diversions from the multi-modal fund.
  • Continued work to move towards Washington’s Target -Zero goals (zero traffic deaths by 2030).
  • Ferry system support including, two new hybrid-electric ferries and the conversion of two diesel ferries to hybrid-electric.
  • Continued delivery of important Connecting Washington projects, including, 132 projects that improve the movement of goods and people throughout the state, as authorized in the 2015 Connecting Washington package ($16 billion multi-year).

Culvert Replacement and Salmon Recovery

  • Increasing REET to a Graduated Real Estate Excise Tax (REET) of $402 million a biennium to address state-owned fish passage barriers.
  • $35 million in state bonds and $50 million in federal appropriations to the Salmon Recovery Board to provide funding for projects that protect or restore salmon habitat and for other salmon recovery programs and activities across the state.
  • $25 million to the Fish Barrier Removal Board for grants to public and private entities for fish barrier removal.

Public Works

  • $130 million to the Public Works Assistance Account for financial assistance in the form of low- or no-interest loans to local governments to repair, replace or rehabilitate bridges, roads, sanitary sewer systems, domestic water systems, storm sewer systems, and solid waste/recycling systems.

Notable Expenditures – Elections and Misc./Other

  • $2.8 million is provided for the office to conduct cybersecurity audits for state agencies and local government.
  • $159,000 for ongoing funding of election reconciliation reporting.
  • $4.8 million for prepaid postage for ballot return envelopes.
  • $116,000 for post-election audits.
  • $300,000 to the Municipal Research and Services Center (MRSC) to maintain staffing levels.
  • $1.3 million to the local government fiscal note program to improve timeliness and data analysis.
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Mellani McAleenan

Mellani joined WSAC as the Director of Government Relations and General Counsel. Mellani has worked in government relations since 2000, most recently as Director of Government Affairs for the Dental Association. Mellani has also represented the state judicial branch of government as the primary legislative advocate for the Board for Judicial Administration, Administrative Office of the Courts, and Supreme Court. Mellani earned her Doctor of Jurisprudence degree from Seattle University and her BS in Human Services from Wayland Baptist University.
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