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Published on Friday, April 14, 2017
Budget leaders from the House Democrats and Senate Republicans still aren’t negotiating in the short time left before session is scheduled to end. Each side says the other’s budget is not balanced, with Democrats saying, “so let’s talk” and Republicans saying, “not until you reconcile yours.” This leaves everyone with a stake in budget outcomes (cities included) on edge and vulnerable.
Their proposed budgets include key items of interest to cities across the state. Our “Hot Sheet” outlines what those are, how they differ, and what AWC prefers.
The spending levels of each budget differ: $43.3 billion in the Senate and $44.9 billion in the House. When leaders start negotiating, they typically work toward a compromise which would be somewhere in the middle of the $1.6 billion difference.
We do not know when negotiations will occur and there could be more than one special session. When these critical negotiations occur, cities and other interests are most vulnerable. During the negotiations, your calls and contacts with your own legislators can be most impactful.
We do know they have to agree to an operating budget before the start of the new fiscal year on July 1. Without a passed budget, the state does not have a way of legally raising revenue and spending resources for the two years of the 2017-19 biennium.
We will keep you posted at critical times over the course of the expected special session(s). We again remind you to share your interests and concerns with your own legislators – many of whom may be home after the regular session ends on April 23. Most legislators will not return to Olympia until negotiations produce something for them to consider. Reach out, thank them for what they have done so far, and remind them of your needs and interests.
In the meantime, watch for further action on policy bills before the end of the regular session on April 23. Once session ends, the Governor will have 20 days to sign bills into law or veto them. Information on the Governor’s action on bills is available here.
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