February 15, 2021
Sen. Wilson’s proposal for a 2021 supplemental operating budget would reduce 2019–21 appropriations from funds subject to the outlook (NGFO) by $1.421 billion. That includes maintenance level (the cost of continuing current services, adjusted for enrollment and inflation) and new policy changes. By comparison, Gov. Inslee’s proposed 2021 supplemental (as revised by the Office of Financial Management earlier this month) would reduce 2019–21 appropriations by $907.8 million.
In Sen. Wilson’s proposal, the estimated maintenance level for the supplemental is $325.7 million higher than in Gov. Inslee’s proposal. One major difference is that Gov. Inslee accounts for the enhanced federal Medicaid match—which would supplant NGFO dollars—largely at the maintenance level, while Sen. Wilson books the savings to the NGFO at the policy level. To better compare the policy differences between the two proposals, I’ve removed the state savings from the enhanced federal Medicaid match from the policy level in the chart below. With that change, Sen. Wilson’s proposal would increase NGFO appropriations for new policy by $52.7 million. (Gov. Inslee’s new policies would add $418.2 million.)
Differences between the two proposals include:
- In governmental operations, Sen. Wilson would not provide NGFO funding for rental assistance. She also would not increase NGFO appropriations for the state match for federal disaster response funding.
- In the Health Care Authority, Sen. Wilson’s proposal would not restore savings that have not been realized in the Healthier Washington program or savings that have not been realized from program integrity activities. (The reduction in HCA spending is from using marijuana tax revenues in lieu of the NGFO for low-income health care.)
- In other human services, Sen. Wilson would not provide NGFO funding to the Department of Health for COVID-19 public health response or to the Department of Corrections for COVID-19 response.
- Sen. Wilson would not provide $60.0 million from the NGFO for safety net support for UW hospitals.
- In other appropriations, Sen. Wilson would increase NGFO spending by $80.0 million for COVID-19 response.
Sen. Wilson’s proposal would also direct how the state should use federal aid. If adopted, her plan would repeal HB 1368, which has been adopted by the Legislature. Sen. Wilson’s proposal would direct the state’s share of federal coronavirus relief fund dollars to many of the same purposes as in HB 1368, but one notable difference is that her proposal would direct $333.0 million to small business grants (compared to $240.0 million in HB 1368). Additionally, Sen. Wilson’s proposal would require $824.9 million in federal funding for schools (from the Dec. 2020 aid bill) to be allocated to school districts based on whether they are open for full in-person learning. (HB 1368 allocates $668.1 million to school districts as long as they have submitted reopening plans.)Categories: Budget.