A new fiscal year (2018) and a new biennium (2017–19) began on Saturday, July 1, but it doesn’t feel much like a fresh start.
For one thing, the third special session is still alive. Legislators will return to work on the capital budget. Also, we’re still digesting the operating budget bill, since it was publicly released just Friday morning. Then there’s the wonder about whether the Legislature’s response to McCleary will pass state Supreme Court muster.
Late Friday night, Gov. Inslee signed the operating budget bill but vetoed 13 provisions. Updated numbers reflecting their fiscal impact haven’t yet been released. The vetoes include:
- A requirement that the Health Care Authority use a single pharmacy benefits manager to administer the Medicaid managed care prescription drug benefit. According to the governor, this violates the constitutional prohibition on bills with more than one subject: “the budget bill may not contain substantive law.” (Other language implementing a preferred drug list stands.)
- Funding for the Department of Labor and Industries to develop a proposed rule for the minimum wage for teenagers.
- A requirement that L&I study occupational disease claims.
- A requirement that the Department of Revenue charge Sound Transit a 1 percent administrative fee for collecting sales taxes. According to the governor, this “is more than is charged under the current contract” so the provision would “reduce the funding available for Sound Transit to deliver the voter-approved transit package.”
- Funding from the consolidated technology services revolving account for the Washington business onestop portal. According to the governor, this “assumes the agency will spend existing fund balance. However, there is not sufficient funding available to spend on this project.”
- A report from the Washington State Institute for Public Policy that would study “comparative constitutional and statutory obligations and revenue capacity of local governments.”
- A report comparing the “cost efficiency of market rate housing in Washington versus publicly subsidized housing projects intended to assist low-income households.”