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Legislature urged to uphold historic partnership with cities

Statement from the Association of Washington Cities (AWC) in response to the close of the second special legislative session

Vancouver, WA – As the second special legislative session ends in Olympia, Wash. with no clear conclusion on operating or capital budgets, more than 450 city officials gather in Vancouver, Wash. for the Association of Washington Cities (AWC) Annual Conference.

The Legislature is now a little more than a week away from the deadline to pass a budget before the end of its fiscal year on June 30. Among the consequences of failure to adopt a budget, hundreds of city contracts are at risk. If continued authority to move forward with these previous commitments is not maintained with a new budget, construction activity around the state would come to a halt.

While cities recognize the importance of the Legislature’s focus on addressing the McCleary Supreme Court decision, the Legislature should not do so by risking vital services for the 4.7 million residents in Washington’s 281 cities and towns. State support is critical for cities to deliver basic public safety, infrastructure that supports economic development, and services to the growing number of those in need in cities large and small.

“While both House and Senate budget proposals contain positive elements for cities, city officials fear that legislators’ closed-door plans to fill budget gaps will yield quick decisions that sweep or reduce the funds their communities rely on,” said Peter B. King, Association of Washington Cities Chief Executive Officer. “We need a final budget that upholds the state’s historic partnership with all 281 cities and fully funds the $225 million shared revenues for cities.”

“We also ask the state to maintain its long-standing commitment to fund local public safety and infrastructure, key services that are provided by cities and benefit the entire state. This includes fully funding the state’s share for law enforcement and firefighter LEOFF 2 pension obligations and the necessary number of Basic Law Enforcement Academy classes. It also includes maintaining a portion of a well-recognized loan fund – the Public Works Trust Fund – that helps local communities take on large sewer, water, and street projects.”

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AWC serves its members through advocacy, education and services. Founded in 1933, AWC is a private, nonprofit, nonpartisan corporation that represents Washington's cities and towns before the state legislature, the state executive branch, and with regulatory agencies. AWC also provides training, data and publications, and programs such as the AWC Employee Benefit Trust, AWC Risk Management Service Agency, AWC Workers’ Comp Retro, AWC Drug and Alcohol Consortium and the AWC GIS Consortium.

Media contact:
Alicia Seegers Martinelli
aliciam@awcnet.org
(360) 753-4137

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