The House budget proposal, released today, would appropriate $44.862 billion in 2017–19 (NGFS+). This is an increase of $6.408 billion over 2015–17, and it is $1.548 billion more than the Senate-passed budget would spend.
The proposal would balance over four years (a welcome development, given that Gov. Inslee’s proposal would have suspended the requirement). This is accomplished through revenue legislation that would increase revenues by $2.995 billion in 2017–19 and $4.784 billion in 2019–21. Additionally, the budget would suspend I-1351 (K-12 class size reduction) by another two years, to save $1.914 billion in 2019–21. Also in 2019–21, resources would be redirected from the public works assistance account to the general fund ($213 million).
Some notable spending changes:
- The proposal would fund all the collective bargaining agreements with employees (and extension to non-represented employees), an increase of $682 million.
- Like the governor, the proposal would create a new Department of Children, Youth and Families (HB 1661).
- It would spend $1.765 billion to increase school salaries to respond to the McCleary decision on school funding.
- It would fund the I-732 cost-of-living adjustment for school staff ($348.7 million).
- It would freeze resident undergraduate tuition ($56.3 million).
- It would expand the state need grant ($72.7 million).
- ECEAP (preschool for low-income children) would be expanded ($30.9 million).
Many of the new revenues assumed in the balance sheet are in HB 2186. Some of the sources of these revenues are a capital gains tax (described by Rep. Lytton as “end[ing] the corporate tax break on capital gains”), a graduated rate for the real estate excise tax, B&O tax increases, economic nexus changes, and ending various tax preferences.
The budget assumes enactment of HB 1764, which would make changes to the 1 percent property tax growth limit. It also assumes enactment of paid family leave legislation (HB 1116).