Washington Research Council


state action on COVID-19

28th of June 2021

How the state has used the $175 million appropriated from the rainy day fund last year

In March 2020, the Legislature passed EHB 2965. The bill appropriated $175 million from the budget stabilization account (BSA, or the rainy day fund) to the disaster response account (DRA), to be used “solely for state and local government and federally recognized tribes’ response to the novel coronavirus” in FY 2020. Under the bill, if […]

What is the source of funding for the “Shot of a Lifetime” vaccine promotion?

Earlier this month, Gov. Inslee announced a lottery for vaccinated Washingtonians, including cash prizes, tuition funding, and various other incentives (many of which are being donated by businesses). According to the Office of Financial Management (OFM), the state is spending $3.8 million on these prizes, all of which comes from federal funds. Of that amount, […]

24th of June 2021

An update on Washington’s use of its coronavirus relief fund money

As part of the CARES Act last year, the federal government established the coronavirus relief fund (CRF) to provide fairly flexible funding to states and some local governments, for expenses related to the pandemic. The funds must be used for costs incurred by the end of calendar year 2021. The state of Washington received $2.167 […]

11th of May 2021

Across operating, capital, and transportation budgets, Legislature appropriated $10.1 billion in federal relief dollars (on top of $7.2 billion previously allocated)

Over $24 billion in federal relief has flown or will flow through Washington’s state and local governments. Of that, $7.238 billion was allocated by the governor last year or appropriated by the Legislature in early action bills this session. As part of the final operating, capital, and transportation budgets this session, the Legislature appropriated an […]

16th of April 2021

Businesses that lost 25% of revenues last year may ask for property tax deferrals under bill signed today

Today Gov. Inslee signed ESHB 1332. The bill requires county treasurers to grant due date extensions for property taxes payable in 2021 for businesses that lost at least 25% of their revenue from leasing or renting the property or from their business activities at the property in CY 2020 (compared to CY 2019). Requests for […]

8th of April 2021

Senate- and House-passed budgets would appropriate $8.426 billion and $10.166 billion, respectively, in federal relief funding

Federal COVID relief legislation since March 2020 has appropriated more than $24 billion that has flowed or will flow through Washington’s state and local governments. Allocations from the latest bill, the American Rescue Plan (ARP) Act, are still being determined, so the $24 billion figure will grow. (Indeed, note that the numbers in this post […]

19th of February 2021

More relief funds headed out the door; rainy day fund balance historically high

Today Gov. Inslee signed three bills related to federal relief funds: SHB 1095 specifies that federal and state grants for businesses that address “the impacts of conditions giving rise to” official emergencies are not subject to the business and occupation tax, the public utility tax, or the retail sales and use tax. (For example, businesses […]

4th of February 2021

Hold harmless funding has been proposed for school districts; beware the potential bow wave

In Washington, most K–12 funding is tied to enrollment. Because K–12 caseloads decreased in the current school year (due to the pandemic and remote learning), maintenance level spending (the cost of continuing current services, adjusted for enrollment and inflation) is expected to decrease as well. Gov. Inslee proposes booking those savings. But Representatives Dolan and […]

28th of January 2021

Washington has over a billion dollars from the latest round of federal relief funding to distribute; how should such funds be dealt with in the future (if the Legislature is not in session)?

Washington has received billions of dollars in federal COVID relief funding since the Legislature adjourned last year. The Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget has been tracking the federal relief dollars. They estimate that state and local relief funding for Washington is up to about $6.43 billion. (That includes, for example, the coronavirus relief fund, […]

25th of January 2021

House and Senate Democrats propose spending $164.3 million from the rainy day fund and would direct how to spend $2.425 billion of federal funding

Friday afternoon Democrats in the House and Senate announced their early action relief bills (HB 1367 and HB 1368, and companion bills SB 5343 and SB 5344). Together, the bills would appropriate $2.589 billion from state and local funds ($164.3 million from the rainy day fund and $2.425 billion in federal funds). Of that, $403.6 […]