Senate Ways & Means Chair’s operating budget proposal would increase NGFO appropriations by $1.14 billion

By: Emily Makings
11:44 am
February 24, 2020

The Senate Ways & Means Committee Chair has released her proposed 2020 supplemental operating budget. It would increase 2019–21 appropriations from funds subject to the outlook (NGFO) by $1.141 billion. Of that, $997.1 million is new policy and $143.4 million is maintenance level increases (the cost of continuing current services).

The budget assumes passage of legislation that would reduce revenues by $10.3 million in 2019–21 and increase revenues by $27.2 million in 2021–23. It would transfer $25.0 million from the general fund to the multimodal transportation account.

The proposal would balance over four years, leaving unrestricted NGFO ending balances of $762 million in 2019–21 and $84 million in 2021–23. The rainy day fund would have $2.180 billion in 2019–21 and $2.804 billion in 2021–23.

Some of the new spending items:

  • $115 million for homelessness and housing support
  • $20.7 million for special education
  • $45.8 million for one-time local effort assistance
  • $100 million for construction of the UW Behavioral Health Hospital
  • $38.4 million for state hospital operations
  • $23 million for the workforce education investment account, “to ensure the account remains solvent for the 2019–21 biennium.”
  • $100 million would be appropriated from the general fund to a new climate resiliency account, for spending on such activities in 2021–23

With the February revenue forecast, the Legislature has about $1.5 billion more to work with for 2019–21 than they did when the original biennial budget was adopted last year. The Senate Chair’s proposal takes advantage of that and would not make appropriations from the rainy day fund (as Gov. Inslee had proposed).

However, it’s important to remember that enacted appropriations for 2019–21 are already very high—they grew by 17.9 percent over 2017–19 (in terms of the NGFO plus the workforce education investment account). That was the biggest spending increase in at least 25 years. If the Senate Chair’s proposal is adopted, the increase in appropriations from 2017–19 to 2019–21 would be 20.4 percent.

Categories: Budget , Categories.
Tags: 2019-21