WELCOME TO WEEK 10 OF THE 2013 LEGISLATIVE SESSION!
Legislative hearings resumed and will continue throughout next week. Governor Inslee’s priorities could come out as early as next week. The big news from this week, however, was the revenue forecast: While the forecast for the remainder of the 2011-2013 biennium was up by $59M, the forecast for 2013-2015 was down by $19M. This would generally be considered pretty good news, however, it is important to remember the existing deficit.....
There was a $900M hole in the budget anticipated for the 2013-2015 biennium going into the session. The recent caseload forecast identified an increase in caseload costs (primarily associated with Medicaid) by $301M. That brought the deficit to $1.2B for the 2013-2015 biennium. Sequestration will reduce revenue collections by approx $6M/month. It is assumed that the impact of sequestration will last until June. The result of the Bracken lawsuit (related to estate taxes), is expected to add another $160M to the problem. This adds up to a deficit of about $1.3B. And... that does NOT include funding for McCleary, which is generally identified as needing around $1B this biennium.
So.... although the forecast was relatively flat, there remains a roughly $2.3B problem. Budget writers are working day and night to try to figure out how to develop a balanced budget. Some are promoting an "all-cuts" budget; others are promoting new revenue. The Senate will likely release their budget before the end of the month and the House will follow sometime later. Whether there can be agreement by April 28th on what to cut, whether to include new revenue, how much to put into K-12/higher education, health, human services, and other parts of the budget, remains to be seen. Stay tuned..... We have a long way to go!
Bills that did not make it out of the house of origin will be included in this update but will be removed from subsequent updates --- unless it looks like the dead bill is going to be amended onto a living bill or included in the budget as a proviso. Remember, a bill is not really dead until the legislature adjourns sine die. And... bills introduced during the first year of the biennium (the odd years) are alive for two years. In other words, a bill that doesn’t get out of committee or voted on by the full house will revert to the last place it was alive and pick up from that place next session.
If you have questions about bills that are no longer appearing in the updates, don’t hesitate to let us know!
Cut-Off Dates Reminder:
- April 3rd - Bills must be out of the policy committee in the opposite house
- April 9th - Bills must be out of the fiscal committee in the opposite house
- April 17th - Last day to consider bills from the opposite house
- April 28th -- Last day of the regular session
Have a great weekend!