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Published on Monday, April 24, 2017

Session in overtime – now what for cities?

The 105-day regular session came to a close April 23. Operating and capital budgets have not been adopted yet, and most legislators have returned home and are not likely to return until leadership and negotiators figure out a compromise. That may take more than the 30-day special session that Governor Inslee called on April 24. July 1 is when the state needs a new budget or else the government will shut down.

AWC has prepared a simple checklist of our budget priorities and which approach – House or Senate – that we prefer. We continue to share the checklist with key legislators. While many of them are back home, now is a great time for you to do the same with your legislators with a casual chat, either over coffee or by inviting them to talk with your council.

Our messages emphasize:

  1. The value and importance of continued shared revenues, and that these revenues are not redirected or reduced;
  2. The importance of bringing back the Public Works Trust Fund;
  3. That now more than ever, we need programs and funds to address homelessness; and
  4. They can help both the state and local economies by enacting a clear way to collect sales tax from online purchases.

AWC appreciates the work accomplished so far on the policy front, such as the passage of long-sought-after public records modernization. There are numerous other outstanding policy issues likely to be considered as budget discussions inch forward, and we will keep you informed as it becomes clearer what those might be. To that end, we are moving to a twice-monthly publication of this Legislative Bulletin during special session(s) and will provide updates in our weekly CityVoice e-newsletter or if needed, through special action alerts.

It is frustrating that legislators have not yet been able to reach budget agreement but, unfortunately, not unexpected. Eventually, they will agree and you can help by reminding them to ensure that the strong city/state partnership needed to keep our communities safe and strong is maintained.