Welcome to Week 12 of the 2013 Legislative Session!

Last week the release of the Governor's budget.  This week the release of the Senate budget.  Next week... the House budget?  Stay tuned!

The Senate budget was released and heard on April 3rd, amended and passed by the Ways and Means Committee on April 4th, and is expected to be passed by the Senate today, April 5th.  After the House budget is released, heard, and passed by the House, negotiations will begin to resolve their differences and reach agreement on a final budget.  How long that takes is anybody's guess; however, the regular session ends on April 28th, so if agreement has not been reached by then, there will be a special session (or sessions).  The Governor is responsible for calling a special session, which can commence immediately after the regular session concludes, or could be called sometime later if the parties remain far apart.  We'll see!

Unlike the Governor's budget, the Senate budget did not include new revenue.  As a result, there were more cuts and fewer adds in the Senate's proposal, given the need to increase K-12 funds, address the existing deficit, and balance the budget.

Highlights from Governor Inslee's and the Senate's budget priorities:

Children's Administration

Family Assessment Response (FAR)

  • Gov: $8.3M GFS; $26.5M total.  Funding covers the anticipated costs for increased staffing (62.4 FTEs), support services, and concrete goods to help stabilize families.
  • Sen: $500K GFS; $10.5M GFF.  Child and Family Reinvestment Acct.  Funding is for concrete goods and services.
  • Sen: $2.5M GFS; $5.5M GFF, Child and Family Reinvestment Acct.  Funding is for FAR staff.
  • Sen: ($1M) GFS; ($1.4M) total.  Funding is reduced to reflect a 30% decline in out-of-home placement for cases referred to the FAR in the last 6 months of FY15.

Performance Based Contracting (PBC)

  • Gov: $.4M GFS; $.7M total.  Funding will support department staffing (3.5 FTEs) that will work with contracted network administrators to ensure positive performance outcomes.
  • Sen: Not included.

Child Protective Services

  • Gov: $5.9M GFS; $7.6M total.  Funding and FTE is provided to lower caseloads for Child Protective Services workers to reduce response and investigation times. Current caseloads are above the recommended level of 1:15 cases per caseworker.
  • Sen: Not included.

Educational Coordinators

  • Gov: No cut; No add.
  • Sen: ($612K) GFS/total.  Includes cut to Education Coordinators as well as the elimination of "unnecessary" training.

Adoption Support Payments

  • Gov: No cut; No add.
  • Sen: ($1.6M) GFS/total.  Reduces funding by 50% for adoption support maintenance payments to adoptive parents with children who don't have significant special needs.

Administrative Efficiencies

  • Gov: No cut; No add.
  • Sen: ($2.3M) GFS/total.  Funding is reduced to reflect administrative efficiencies and other actions that agencies will take to lower costs.

Extended Foster Care

  • Gov: No cut; No add.
  • Sen: $3.1M GFS; $4M total.  Funding is provided to implement SB5405, which extends foster care services to youth exiting the foster care system who are engaged in activities which remove barriers to employment.

Powell Fatality Team

  • Gov: No cut; No add.
  • Sen: $100K GFS; $256K GFF.  Funding is provided for initial and ongoing DV training for social workers.

Aging and Adult Services

Kinship Caregivers

  • Gov: No cut.
  • Sen: ($2.1M) GFS/total.  Funding is eliminated for kinship caregivers.

Economic Services

WorkFirst Reduction

  • Gov: $70M is reduced; however, $35m is reinvested to:
    • Move homeless children and families to stable housing
    • Reinstate the Career Services program to increase federal participation
    • Make improvements to the limited English proficiency pathways
    • Implement the TANF Predictive Risk Information System
    • Increase utilization of vocational education services through the State Board of Community and Technical Colleges
    • Note: It appears that this is what the budget did; however, further analysis is needed!
  • Sen: ($143.9M) GFS/total.  This includes the TANF and Working Connections Child Care adjustments to reflect caseload and per capita under-expenditures.

Household Size

  • Gov: Does not include.
  • Sen: ($2.7M) GFS/total.  Funding is reduced to reflect capping the TANF grant at the household size of the family upon entry onto TANF.  The grant may not increase with additional family members.

Reduce WorkFirst Partners

  • Gov: Does not include.
  • Sen: ($14.3M) GFS/total.  Funding is reduced for WorkFirst activities by 10% for the biennium.

TANF Redesign Caseload

  • Gov: Does not include.
  • Sen: ($4.1M) GFS/total.  Funding is reduced due to an expectation that the redesign of the TANF program and WorkFirst activities will result in shorter lengths of stay.

Reduce Child Care Cap

  • Gov: Does not include.
  • Sen: ($17.4M) GFS/total.  Funding is reduced to reflect lowering the cap on Working Connections Child Care from 33,000 to 29,000.

Reduce/Modify Safety Net Programs

  • Gov: ($26.9M) GFS is eliminated.  With the elimination of state-administered incapacity examinations and Supplemental Security Income (SSI) facilitation services, the Aged Blind and Disabled (ABD) / Pregnant Women (PW) Assistance Program and the Housing and Essential Needs Program (HEN) are modified.  The ABD/PW Assistance Program, which currently provides up to a $197 monthly cash benefit to about 25,100 eligible participants, will be reduced to provide cash benefits to only the aged population, which is approximately 3,600 individuals per month.  All other ABD and PW participants may be eligible for housing assistance, essential needs supports, and/or SSI facilitation assistance through the HEN Program.
  • Sen: ($40.9M) GFS/total.  Funding is reduced to reflect a 50% reduction to the cash grant for clients of the aged assistance program.  Beginning 7/1/13, the disabled population from the former aged, blind, disabled program will no longer receive cash assistance but will be served by the Housing and Essential Needs Program, if they meet the eligibility requirements.

Early Learning

Early Childhood Education and Assistance Program

  • Gov: $35M GFS /total.  The budget invests funds to expand by 3,035 slots and improve quality through increased classroom hours and professional development.
  • Sen: $22.4M GFS/total.  Funding is provided to increase the number of ECEAP slots by 860 while increasing the average slot reimbursement from $6,800 to $7,500 and increasing oversight.

Home Visiting

  • Gov: Did not include.
  • Sen: $1M GFS/total.  Funding is provided to expand Home Visiting Activities.

Reach Out and Read

  • Gov: No cut.
  • Sen: ($400K) GFS/total.  Funding for the ROR program is moved to federal funds for the biennium.

K-12

Expand Full-Day Kindergarten

  • Gov: $116.2M GFS.  Expands full-day kindergarten to all high-poverty schools.
  • Sen: $41.1M GFS/total.  Funding is expanded from the current 22% of kindergarten enrollment to 30% in 13-14; and to 35% in 14-15, with priority to those schools with the highest percentage of students eligible for the free and reduced price lunch program.

Reduce Class Size for Kindergarten and First Grade for all High-Poverty Schools

  • Gov: $128M.  Reduces class size from 24 to 20.
  • Sen: ?

Ensure Third Grade Literacy

  • Gov: $12.5M.
  • Sen: ?

Dropout Action Plan Grants

  • Gov: $1.3M.  Funding is provided to offer $10,000 grants to 63 districts per year  to facilitate use of the uniform dropout risk assessment tool and develop plans of action to reduce their district's dropout rate.
  • Sen: ?

Consolidate Grants and Programs

  • Gov: Did not appear to consolidate.
  • Sen: ($18.8M) GFS/total.  Grants and statewide programs, including Readiness to Learn, are combined into one funding amount and reduced.

Revenue

  • Gov: $565.2M from repealing/modifying tax breaks and $661.6M from extending revenues from the 0.3% B&O tax surcharge and the 50-cent beer tax.  Total: $1.2B+.
  • Sen: Did not include.

In Other News.... 

The cut-off for bills to be out of the policy committee in the opposite house was the 3rd, and the cut-off for bills to be out of the fiscal committees is the 9th.  Beyond that, there are two more cut-offs: April 17th for bills to be out of the opposite house and April 28th - Sine Die!

It is common for committees in the opposite house to amend bills that have come over from the other side.  While this update may include changes made in the opposite house policy committees, it will not include such information for all of the bills.  That the bill has been amended in committee will, at minimum, be identified.

Cut-Off Dates Reminder:

  • 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   
Laurie Lippold
Public Policy Director