City leaders invited to talk with gubernatorial, attorney general and auditor candidates
On September 18, AWC’s Candidates Forum will put city leaders and top state candidates in the same room for a focused dialogue. It’s critical that city leaders like you educate our future statewide elected officials about municipal issues before they take office. Don’t wait until these candidates are elected to tell the city story. More information can be found here.
Ramping up for the 2013 legislative session – We expect another challenging year
The state’s fiscal challenges haven’t gone away and will likely be more pronounced in the coming session. There will be a new set of players in Olympia who’ll know varying amounts about what it takes to have healthy, safe and vibrant cities and towns. Our job at AWC is to help them help you, rather than harm you.
When AWC advocates for cities, we’re guided by a legislative agenda developed by our members and adopted by our Board of Directors. The process starts with the adoption of a Statement of Policy during AWC’s Annual Conference in June, followed by the formation of a Legislative Committee to sift through and develop policy ideas for issues of importance to member cities.
AWC President Don Gerend recently appointed a Legislative Committee of approximately 80 members to start pouring over ideas to advance city interests before and during the 2013 session. As shown here, the committee is split into five subcommittees, each covering a subset of issues. Each subcommittee meets once or twice to prepare preliminary recommendations to share with the full Legislative Committee on September 19. The full committee then forwards recommendations to the AWC Board so it can adopt preliminary priorities at the September 28 meeting.
From there, AWC staff begins to engage legislators and other interests on our emerging issues in advance of the session, which begins in early January 2013. Subcommittees continue to fine-tune issues, and the full Legislative Committee convenes again on November 15 to finalize recommendations to the Board. During a late fall meeting, the 2013 legislative agenda will be finalized.
In recent years, the AWC Board adopted priorities under broad themes with discrete issues used as examples of how the Legislature could help us address those themes. We are now asking subcommittees to prioritize the issues they are advancing to the full Legislative Committee using broad preliminary themes for the 2013 session. These themes include:
- Save cities money
- Help grow city revenue
- Enhance effective service provision
- Protect key authorities
Subcommittees are being asked to prioritize issues within each theme as follows:
- Top priority – The most important and timely issue for the 2013 session
- Other – Important, but not #1
- Monitor – Watch and weigh in if appropriate
As this work unfolds, we’ll report outcomes from the full Legislative Committee and Board deliberations. City officials can elaborate on one or more of the issues when meeting with your local legislators and candidates.
Stay tuned and if you have questions or ideas, let me know!
AWC submits your ideas for saving $ – Now what?
In early July, Marty Brown (the Governor’s Budget Director) asked AWC, counties and ports for ideas they might include in proposed legislation aimed at eliminating obsolete or unnecessary reports, programs or mandates rooted in state law.
We solicited ideas from member cities and submitted this letter and list by August 15 as they requested.
As noted in the cover letter and list itself, AWC has not taken formal positions on many of these ideas. Others need additional research and a few ideas submitted we’ve discovered already have fixes.
We’re not sure what the Governor might do with this list, or whether she’ll prepare executive request legislation incorporating some of our ideas. We do know that AWC will be considering most, if not all, of these ideas during the development of our 2013 legislative agenda. For the past two sessions (2011 and 2012), we advanced legislation postponing or eliminating mandates and also providing more flexibility in the use of existing revenue authorities. Most of the easy things have been accomplished. Now is likely the time to consider further delays or outright removal of mandates.
The list is evolving. More ideas are welcome. So, too, is your perspective on items already on the list. (Send to email@example.com.)
Joint Select Committee continues to meet, discusses local government structure & revenues
As I mentioned last month, the Legislature’s Joint Select Committee on Junior Taxing Districts, Municipal Corporations and Local Government Finance started its work of looking at local government structure, new local revenue options, and the impact of liquor privatization. Get the latest here.
Legislative staff and AWC’s CEO heading out and about
Each fall, we head out to visit cities and legislators to share what we know about emerging city priorities, as well as to listen to and learn about what you care most about in your communities. We will conduct a series of Regional Meetings, and we’re also available to visit or speak at gatherings of local elected officials. If you would like someone from AWC to speak at an event, please let me or CEO Mike McCarty know.