February 22, 2021
Rep. Stokesbary’s proposal for a 2021 supplemental operating budget would reduce 2019–21 appropriations from funds subject to the outlook (NGFO) by $1.573 billion. Of that, maintenance level changes (the cost of continuing current services, adjusted for enrollment and inflation) would reduce appropriations by $909.6 million and new policy would reduce appropriations by $663.1 million.
However, that does not include appropriations from the budget stabilization account (BSA, or the rainy day fund). Rep. Stokesbary would appropriate $1.809 billion from the BSA for specific policies in 2019–21 (on top of the $364.3 million that has already been appropriated from the BSA this biennium). Gov. Inslee proposed appropriating $200.0 million from the BSA. The remaining BSA balance in Gov. Inslee’s proposal and the full BSA balance in Sen. Wilson’s proposal would be transferred to the general fund in 2019–21, for general use over the outlook period. Thus, in terms of the NGFO+BSA, Rep. Stokesbary’s 2021 and 2021–23 proposals would appropriate more than Gov. Inslee or Sen. Wilson in 2019–21, but less than Gov. Inslee or Sen. Wilson in 2021–23 and 2023–25.
Because of the enhanced federal Medicaid match that is in effect until the end of the public health emergency, federal dollars will supplant hundreds of millions of state dollars. Gov. Inslee largely accounted for these state savings at the maintenance level, but Sen. Wilson and Rep. Stokesbary account for them at the policy level. To better compare the proposals, the chart below (showing policy level changes) backs out the effects of the Medicaid match. After doing that, NGFO policy changes increase by $418.2 million in Gov. Inslee’s proposal and by $52.7 million in Sen. Wilson’s proposal. NGFO policy changes in Rep. Stokesbary’s proposal would reduce appropriations by $124.9 million. However, if you add in the BSA, policy level appropriations would increase by $1.684 billion in Rep. Stokesbary’s proposal and by $618.2 million in Gov. Inslee’s proposal. The chart below includes the NGFO and the BSA.
Some major policy differences between the proposals (NGFO+BSA):
- In governmental operations, for rental assistance, Rep. Stokesbary would appropriate $245.0 million (from the BSA), Gov. Inslee would appropriate $22.1 million, and Sen. Wilson would not appropriate state funding.
- In the Department of Social and Health Services (DSHS), both Rep. Stokesbary and Sen. Wilson would fund the temporary COVID rate enhancements for long term care providers through the end of FY 2021.
- In the Health Care Authority (HCA), both Rep. Stokesbary and Gov. Inslee would restore savings that were not realized in the Healthier Washington program ($30.8 million) and from program integrity activities ($71.0 million). All three proposals would use marijuana tax revenues in lieu of the NGFO for low-income health care.
- In other human services, neither Rep. Stokesbary nor Sen. Wilson would appropriate state funds to contain the spread of COVID-19. Gov. Inslee would appropriate $125.9 million.
- Neither Rep. Stokesbary nor Sen. Wilson would provide safety net support for UW hospitals.
- In other appropriations, Sen. Wilson would appropriate $80.0 million for general COVID response. Gov. Inslee would appropriate $100 million for rental assistance and $100 million for business assistance grants (from the BSA). The bulk of Rep. Stokesbary’s BSA appropriations are accounted for in this budget area. They are:
- $500.0 million to the COVID-19 unemployment account for employer relief of unemployment insurance benefit charges
- $500.0 million to the COVID-19 K-12 response account for accelerated learning opportunities
- $160.0 million to the COVID-19 K-12 response account for one-time $300 stipends per pupil for low-income students
- $200.0 million to the recovery rebate account for the working families tax credit
- $96.8 million to the general fund to offset the loss of revenues from HB 1299 (which would reduce business and occupation taxes on the retail sale of lodging, prepared food and alcoholic beverages, and retail sales at bowling alleys)
Also of note: Rep. Stokesbary’s proposal would eliminate funding for the Tax Structure Work Group and the clean air rule.Categories: Budget.