More Money

Yesterday the Washington State Economic and Revenue Forecast Council released revenue projections for the current and upcoming biennia.  Last week the Council met and voted to move the June forecast up to mid-May.

This is the last forecast before the end of the current fiscal year. The forecast predicts the state will collect $106 million more than expected in fees and taxes for the 2013-2015 budget biennium, which ends this June 30. In addition, the state can anticipate $309 million more in taxes and fees than expected for the 2015-2017 budget biennium, which begin this July 1.

The forecast is expected to spur negotiations on the Hill.  Legislative leaders exchanged budget offers last week and plan to continue negotiating and exchanging offers this week.  The current 30-day special session ends May 28.

June Revenue Forecast in May? Possibly

Today the Economic and Revenue Forecast Council announced a meeting for tomorrow. The sole agenda item is to consider the timing of the next revenue forecast. Currently the next forecast is scheduled to be released on June 17.

In the past week bipartisan support has emerged to consider moving the June forecast up.  Policymakers are concerned that the June date is too late as the Legislature continues to work to reach a compromise budget.


Next Week Marks Halfway Point in Special Session

Next Thursday marks the halfway point in special session.The thirty day special session that convened on April 29 is scheduled to end on May 28.

This Week

This week budget writers met for two days to discuss and brief on the more than 1,000 differences between the two budgets.  Leadership shared that at this point budget writers are going through the budget, identifying differences and determining where decisions will be required to reach a compromise.

Within the multitude of differences, the Legislature must reach agreement on several big policy and funding issues including support for K-12 basic education and mental health and then how to support these funds, which inserts a conservation around revenue.

In an effort to assist these conversations there is a bipartisan effort to push for an early revenue forecast to determine if the state will collect more revenue.  The next revenue forecast is scheduled for mid-June, which many policymakers recognize is too late.

Next Week

While there is no floor action scheduled to date, next week a handful of House and Senate Committees are scheduled to meet.  In the House this includes a public hearing on Thursday in House Appropriations to discuss a new approach to the Governor’s proposed cap-and-trade plan and on Wednesday a public hearing in House Finance on a capital gains tax proposal.  The Senate Higher Education Committee will convene on Thursday, as well, for a work session on transfer between institutions and sectors.

This Week: Special Session Enters First Full Week

Last week marked the beginning of a 30-day special session following the completion of the 2015 regular session at the end of April.  The first few days of special session saw some action, which is a schedule that is likely to follow this week.

The House and Senate are scheduled for pro forma sessions the first part of this week. There are no House committees scheduled to date to meet this week, and only a handful are expected to meet in the Senate at the end of the week.

First Day of Special Session

Today is the first day of a 30-day special session.  The Legislature faces major issues in the next month including biennial operating, capital and transportation budgets and policy legislation necessary to implement the budget.

Last Friday the Legislature adjourned the 2015 regular session.  Governor Inslee requested negotiators return earlier this week to continue budget negotiations.

The first week of the session will be a mix of negotiations and committee meetings.  Budget writers and leadership are expected to brief their caucuses today and the fiscal committees are scheduled for public hearings today and tomorrow.

Next Week: Special Session

Next week marks the beginning of the special session. The Governor announced a special session to begin on April 29.

A handful of legislators – leadership and budget writers – will be invited by the Governor for negotiations on Monday.

For the rest of the members it is unclear when they will be asked to return to Olympia for committee and floor work.

So where do things stand with regard to getting out of town for good.

The House and Senate have each passed a biennial operating and capital budget proposal. Negotiations between leaders and budget writers will continue.

A special session returns all policy bills to their chamber of origin and they are eligible for further consideration.

Legislature Sine Dies…To Return Next Week

This evening the Washington Legislature ended the 2015 regular legislative session. The regular session ended without the passage of a biennial operating, capital or transportation budget or several policy bills that would be necessary to implement the budgets proposed this session.

Governor Inslee immediately announced a special session to begin April 29.  The Legislature will have 30 days to complete their work.

Governor Announces Special Session

Earlier today Governor Inslee shared with policymakers that he would call a special session to begin on April 29.

The focus of the 30 day special session will be to complete major work that was left undone during the regular session. This includes completion of a biennial operating, capital and transportation budget.

The regular session officially ends on Sunday evening.  The Governor is expected to issue a formal proclamation for the special session tomorrow.