Gov. Inslee proposes increasing spending by $960.8 million

By: Emily Makings
3:49 pm
December 14, 2017

Gov. Inslee’s 2018 supplemental operating budget would increase near general fund–state plus opportunity pathways (NGFS+) spending by $960.8 million. This would put 2017–19 appropriations at $44.669 billion.

To comply with the Supreme Court’s order that the Legislature needs to fully fund K–12 salaries by school year 2018–19 (rather than SY 2019–20), the proposal would increase spending by $761.4 million in state fiscal year 2019. (The full cost for salaries for SY 2018–19 would be about $950 million, but a few months of SY 2018–19 fall in state FY 2020, which is in the 2019–21 biennium.)

The proposal also includes $20.0 million to increase the special education safety net threshold, $93.3 million for state psychiatric hospital operations, and $97.3 million to restore funding to the Health Care Authority for savings that have failed to materialize from the Healthier Washington program and single Medicaid preferred drug list.

In November, the Economic and Revenue Forecast Council adopted an official budget outlook that incorporates the November revenue forecast. The projected unrestricted ending fund balance was $1.172 billion for 2017–19 and negative $33 million for 2019–21. Part of the reason the balance is negative over four years is that the outlook assumes that Congress will not reauthorize the Children’s Health Insurance Program, so state costs would increase. The budget stabilization account (BSA, or rainy day fund) was projected to have $1.182 billion at the end of 2017–19 and $1.730 billion at the end of 2019–21.

Under the governor’s proposal, the unrestricted ending fund balance would be $759 million in 2017–19, and there would be $1.395 billion in the BSA. In order to put the four-year outlook in the black, Gov. Inslee “proposes a temporary infusion of revenue from a carbon pollution tax that he will propose to the Legislature in January.” No details on that were provided.

For more background, here are our reports on the enacted 2017–19 budget and the Legislature’s 2017 response to the McCleary decision.

Categories: Budget , Categories.
Tags: 2017-19