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

Published on Friday, March 7, 2014

Time is short as Sine Die approaches and there is lots of work still to do

Ever since legislators returned in early January, we’ve assumed they wouldn’t make big decisions. Unlike the past several sessions, this one didn’t require the legislature to cut programs or expenditures nor was there enough “extra” revenue to do new things.

Their 60-day clock runs out on Thursday, March 13. By then, they’ll have to agree or agree-to-disagree on policy issues and whether or not to adopt a supplemental budget that makes spending adjustments through the end of their biennium – June 30, 2015.

Our AWC agenda was ambitious. We knew success would be measured not by whether all of it was accomplished, but instead by our ability to improve how cities and the state work together to keep our communities and businesses strong. To date, we’ve been able to convince legislators that several bad ideas shouldn’t be adopted. We haven’t been as successful in convincing them to address our key priorities on restoring liquor revenue or funding infrastructure.

With less than a week left before the clock runs out, we’re focused on keeping them from further reducing state revenue support for cities. The Senate’s budget reduces liquor taxes shared with cities and counties. It attempts to replace most of those liquor tax reductions with potential marijuana tax receipts that are speculative and not guaranteed. The House budget doesn’t cut liquor taxes, nor does it provide any sharing of new marijuana revenue to help support city responses to impacts of legalization. While neither approach is ideal, the House approach doesn’t cut revenues and is preferable.

You’ll note in this Bulletin that there remain some outstanding and unresolved issues that may well get addressed in the closing days of session. We’ll report on final actions early in the week following the expected end of session on March 13.

We wish we could report greater headway on attaining progress on our priorities. We will be regrouping to consider our next moves and begin a thoughtful statewide dialogue on what it takes to ensure that the residents and businesses in Washington’s cities and towns can survive and prosper.