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Published on Friday, February 28, 2014

Senate and House release budget proposals

This week, the Senate released and passed their supplemental state budget. On Wednesday, the House released their own proposal, which will be considered in the House Appropriations Committee this afternoon. Both proposals are modest in terms of the state’s more than $33 billion two-year operating budget and increase spending for the remainder of the biennium by less than $200 million.

Senate budget further cuts local liquor taxes, may give locals marijuana revenue

Instead of enacting a promised technical correction to last year’s state budget, the Senate proposes to cut the $24.7 million in local liquor taxes by approximately $7 million more. These proposed cuts largely take place in the second year of the state’s biennial budget, and cities would start seeing cuts with their October 2014 distributions.

The Senate potentially gives cities and counties $5.2 million in marijuana revenue to offset some of this cut. However, cities and counties would only get a distribution if $5.2 million in marijuana revenue is raised for the state’s general fund by June 30, 2015. Under current law, marijuana revenue must be distributed to a number of designated programs before any money goes to the state general fund. This means cities and counties would only get the $5.2 million if there is enough after the other distributions. Also, this is one-time revenue for locals, and distributions, if any, may not happen until the middle of 2015.

The Senate proposal also includes:

  • $500,000 for a grant program for local law enforcement to target metal theft. (The Senate’s original proposal dedicated this funding to a no-buy database related to recent legislation on scrap metal purchasing.)
  • $300,000 to county drug enforcement and prosecution in three areas involved in a previous pilot program.
  • A requirement that cities and counties pay 25% of the cost of sending corrections personnel to basic training at the Criminal Justice Training Commission.
  • $70.5 million in additional resources for the Water Pollution Control Revolving Loan program administered by the Department of Ecology.

House proposal maintains city liquor taxes, no marijuana revenue for locals

The House’s budget proposal makes the correction needed to local liquor taxes, and through October 2015, cities will continue to get quarterly distributions in similar amounts to what is being distributed now. The House does not propose to share any marijuana revenue with cities and counties.

The House proposal also includes:

  • $200,000 for a data collection expert and a mediator to implement a process to develop solutions for maintaining the greatest level of access under the Public Records Act with the least impact to government resources and operations. AWC supports this funding.
  • $70.5 million in additional resources for the Water Pollution Control Revolving Loan program administered by the Department of Ecology.
  • $25 million for flood hazard reduction grants.
  • $25 million for stormwater retrofit projects that reduce toxic water pollution.
Categories: Budget & finance
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