December 16, 2021
The enacted 2021–23 operating budget appropriated $59.067 billion from funds subject to the outlook (NGFO). Today Gov. Inslee proposed a supplemental budget that would appropriate $62.107 billion for the biennium, an increase of 5.1% over the enacted budget. Compared to 2019–21, this level of appropriations would represent an increase of 18.2%.
Under the governor’s proposal, maintenance level changes (the cost of continuing current services, adjusted for inflation and enrollment) would reduce appropriations by $1.145 billion and new policies would increase appropriations by $4.185 billion.
The proposal does not make significant tax changes. According to the governor’s balance sheet, the proposal would leave an unrestricted NGFO ending balance of $1.316 billion.
On top of the regular 1% transfer from the general fund–state to the budget stabilization account (BSA, or the rainy day fund), the proposal would transfer an additional $600 million. (While this is a good thing, note that $1.8 billion was needlessly transferred out of the BSA earlier this year.) The BSA ending balance would be $1.197 billion under the governor’s proposal, for total reserves of $2.513 billion. The governor’s budget documents do not include an estimated four-year outlook, but they note that total reserves in 2023–25 would be $2.8 billion.
Some major NGFO policy proposals include:
- $746 million for accelerated learning opportunities,
- $173.9 million for student support staffing,
- $100 million for electric vehicle rebates,
- $100 million for solar incentives,
- $173 million for the Department of Health to contain the spread of COVID-19,
- $99.9 million for COVID-19 vaccines, and
- $99.5 million for emergency fire suppression.