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Published on Friday, February 3, 2017

With MTCA facing shortfalls a surcharge is being considered again

The Model Toxics Control Accounts (MTCA) remain in desperate financial situation with the capital side of the ledger starting this session $75 million in the negative. That compares to a normal capital budget that projects $185-$290 million dollars available to fund a number of important projects and programs. This is a continuation of the problems we saw last year that led to discussions about whether limited MTCA revenues should be prioritized for stormwater investments or toxic cleanups, both of which are priorities for cities.

In his budget, the Governor proposes to fix this problem through a surcharge on the hazardous substances tax that is triggered when the underlying tax is projected to raise less than $160 million in a year. That would lessen the dramatic losses in revenues when oil prices fall substantially. Notably the surcharge would not address the dramatic loss of revenues caused by the Legislature and Governor piling more and more programs onto this account as a way to address operating budget challenges. AWC will support this surcharge proposal again this year. Without either this new revenue, general fund, or bond backfill there will not be enough revenue available to continue critical environmental and economic development investments.