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Welcome to AWC’s online library of Legislative Bulletin and CityVoice news articles and other updates.

Published on Friday, March 29, 2013

Legislature has less than a month to act

The 105-day session is scheduled to end on April 28. Policy bills are still being worked on and worked out – you will find information on the major ones still in play under each issue area in this Bulletin.

Attention has shifted for folks gathered in Olympia who are now focused on the budget, both operating and capital. The Senate Majority Coalition seems poised to release its operating and capital budgets next week. Very soon after that will be a hearing, floor debate, and action. At the same time, the House Majority Democrats continue work on crafting their budget, which won’t be revealed until sometime after the Senate debates a budget.

Directly at stake for cities is whether the relatively small, but very important, amount of liquor and criminal justice funds shared with all cities will continue, and what potential cuts or sweeps may be made to special accounts or infrastructure funding programs that help cities thrive. Indirectly, budget decisions affecting things like the quality of our schools, health of our business climate, and our natural environment are also being watched because of their importance to the quality of life in cities.

City officials throughout the state were alerted earlier this week to the need to engage and share your views with your local legislators as final budget-crafting decisions are being made. Thank you to the many officials who have communicated with your legislators – many of these contacts mirroring the letter sent to the Governor and legislative leadership by AWC’s Board of Directors and our Legislative Subcommittee Chairs. Senators also heard from organizations representing police and fire interests about the importance of shared revenues and the need for continued support of public safety. If you haven’t yet contacted your legislators, please consider doing so at this critical time of session – especially your Senators, who it’s rumored are still putting the finishing touches on budget priorities – including whether or not to reduce liquor revenue-sharing with cities and counties.

Governor Inslee announced his priorities yesterday and outlined how he would fund them. There is much to digest and debate within his priorities, and that will unfold over the coming weeks. AWC greatly appreciates that, unlike his predecessor, he hasn’t proposed balancing state needs with elimination of parts of shared liquor revenues with cities. In fact, he hasn’t proposed elimination or reduction in any shared revenues with local governments. He does redirect portions of both the Public Works Trust Fund and Model Toxics Control accounts to the state’s general fund – something of concern because it reduces critical infrastructure investments and job creation in cities.

When the proposed Senate budget rolls out, look for an analysis from AWC. We don’t expect that cities will have much time to digest it before it comes up for a vote in the full Senate, so again – now is the time to communicate your needs, concerns or support for things they should consider.

Please enjoy what looks to be a beautiful weekend across the state!