Has spring sprung?  It has been a beautiful week in Olympia, with the trees starting to develop buds and many people gathering at the sundial!  And, to add to the sunny mood, the revenue forecast was released on March 20.  Although it is not a major game changer, it is positive!

 

The state’s revenue projection for 2019-2021 increased by $554 million and the forecast for this biennium (2017-2019) increased by $307 million.  The increases, coupled with a drop in some of the caseload sizes, and a lower than anticipated amount necessary for some ‘must have’ big ticket items, mean that some pressure has been released from the budget process.  Enough to not have concerns?  Unfortunately, no.  The state likely will still need additional revenue to make good on previous commitments and put resources into a variety of critical areas.

 

Anticipating the release of the House budget?  Well, the wait is almost over!  The budget is expected to come out on Monday, March 25th and will be available on line at noon.  The public hearing will take place at 3:30, not leaving much time to do a thorough analysis, but enough time to figure out generally what’s in and what’s not. 

Over the next week or so we will be posting to the Partners for Our Children website a comparison of the House budget to the Governor's budget, and will do the same when the Senate budget is released.

 

Some of the budget items Partners for Our Children will be looking for are funding for Strive (parent child visitation), Behavioral Rehabilitation Services (BRS), kinship care, home visiting and other early learning efforts, Parents for Parents, services for families in crisis, children’s mental health, the Anchor Community Initiative, substance use disorder services, foster care improvements, additional child and family services workers, and TANF policy improvements.  Here’s hoping!

 

The date of the Senate budget release is not yet publicized, however it is often the case that the other house gets their budget out shortly after the first house’s release.  Stay tuned!  Some items are more likely to be in one budget over the other, but it is always important to provide feedback on all budget proposals as they come out!

 

While a lot of the focus this upcoming week will be on the budget, bills will continue to be heard and exec’d.  The cut-off for bills to be out of the opposite house policy committees is April 3rd and cut-off for fiscal is April 8th (Appropriations) and April 9th (Senate).  It’s hard to believe that next week is the last week in March but the time does fly by and fiscal cut-off will be here before we know it!

 

For those of you following the work of the Department of Children, Youth and Families Oversight Board, the next meeting is March 28th, 5:30 – 8:30 in the Cherberg Building (Capitol Campus), Conference Rooms A, B, and C.  The meetings are open to the public!