By Diana Carlen
On Dec. 14, Gov. Jay Inslee released his proposed supplemental operating budget for the 2017-2019 biennium. The supplemental operating budget makes tweaks to the current $43.7 billion, two-year state budget that was adopted earlier this year. The Governor proposes tapping into the state’s reserves by almost a billion dollars to respond to a recent Supreme Court ruling that the state needs to speed up their funding on education funding. The Governor announced he will be proposing legislation imposing a carbon tax from fossil fuel in January to backfill the money tapped from the state’s reserves. No specific details about the Governor’s proposed carbon tax are available at this time.
Each December, the Governor gets the opportunity to present his budget proposal which serves as a framework for the Legislature. Lawmakers return to Olympia for the 2018 legislative session on Jan. 8. During the legislative session, the House and Senate will each present their own supplemental budget proposals before negotiating a final budget during the 60-day legislative session. Below are some items of interest in the Governor’s proposed supplemental budget:
• Wildfire suppression. The Governor’s budget provides funding to cover the unanticipated costs of responding to and fighting wildfires across the state. Fires occurred on over 404,000 acres, making 2017 the second-largest fire season in more than 15 years. ($42.5 million from the general fund-state; $10.9 million from the Disaster Response Account; $6.7 million from the general fund-federal; $520,000 other funds)
• European gypsy moths. The budget begin efforts to eradicate and monitor nonnative European gypsy moths, which threaten forests and the timber, nursery and Christmas tree industries. ($238,000 from the general fund-state; $715,000 general fund-federal)
Here is a link to an overview of the Governor’s proposed budgets.
Here is the link to the specific state agency recommended budgets.