Operating budget amended and approved by Ways & Means; the outlook now assumes 4.5% revenue growth in the second biennium

By: Emily Makings
12:17 pm
February 24, 2022

Yesterday the Senate Ways & Means Committee amended and approved the chair’s supplemental operating budget proposal. Compared to the chair’s proposal, adopted amendments would reduce appropriations from funds subject to the outlook (NGFO) by $163.8 million in 2021–23 and increase NGFO appropriations by $880.5 million in 2023–25.

Some notable amendments:

  • In the enacted budget, the inflation adjustment for K–12 salaries and materials, supplies, and operating costs in SY 22–23 is 1.6%. The Senate chair’s proposal would have increased that to 2.8%. As passed by Ways & Means, the budget would increase it to 4.7%. (The inflation adjustment would be 5.5% in the House chair’s proposal.) This change would increase spending by $167.6 million in 2021–23 and by $451.8 million in 2023–25.
  • $20.0 million would be appropriated in FY 2023 for grants to state and county fairs that make admission free in FY 2023.
  • $31.0 million would be transferred from the general fund–state (GFS) to the recreation access pass account in FY 2023. This would allow discover passes to be free for the year.
  • $39.0 million would be transferred from the GFS to the Tacoma Narrows Toll Bridge Account (SSB 5488).
  • The chair’s proposal would have appropriated $500 million in FY 2023 from the GFS to a new strategic enterprise resource planning technology account. As amended by Ways & Means, only $100 million would be appropriated. However, the revised outlook assumes that $400 million would be appropriated in 2023–25.

Also, as I noted earlier, one of the amendments assumes enactment of SB 5980, which would increase the small business B&O tax credit. The outlook for the Ways & Means budget assumes that SB 5980 would reduce revenues by $20.6 million in 2021–23 and by $105.4 million in 2023–25. (A fiscal note for SB 5980 was published this morning.)

As passed by Ways & Means, the budget would leave an unrestricted NGFO ending balance of $351 million in 2023–25. As originally proposed, the budget would have left an unrestricted ending balance of $362 million.

However, now the budget assumes it will have an additional $896 million in revenues over the outlook period. Under the four-year balanced budget requirement, the budget must balance within available fiscal resources, which are defined as the greater of the official revenue forecast or 4.5% revenue growth in each year. The chair’s original proposal assumed only the official February revenue forecast, which grows by less than 4.5% each year next biennium. Effectively, the W&M chair was holding back $896 million that could have been spent under the outlook rules but is not expected in the revenue forecast.

The budget adopted by Ways & Means balances because it assumes that extra $896 million. (The House chair’s proposal also assumes the extra $896 million.)

For earlier posts on the budgets, see here.

Categories: Budget.
Tags: 2022supp