Monday, April 23, 2012

Lawmakers assume agencies will spend $120 million less than authorized

When is a budget cut not a budget cut? When agencies still have the authority to spend money but lawmakers assume agencies won't spend all of it. This budget "reversion" philosophy isn't built entirely on blind faith, however, but on historical trends. Though the 2011-13 balance sheet shows total spending of $31.121 billion, the actual budgeted authority for agency spending is $31.241 billion. This is because the 2011-13 balance sheet assumes $120 million in reversions based on historical experience of actual agency spending, meaning the Legislature expects agencies will under spend their budgeted authority resulting in expected spending of $31.121 billion . . . READ MORE

Friday, April 20, 2012

Snapshot of state operating budget spending history

This table reflects the 2012 supplemental budget as adopted by the Legislature . . . READ MORE

Summary of K-12 health insurance bill

Showing it's never too late (or early) for lawmakers to come to agreement on bill language, during the early hours of the 2nd Special Session of 2012 a compromise was reached on SB 5940 (Regarding reforms to school employee benefits purchasing). The enacted version adopted 53-45 in the House and 25-20 in the Senate requires new reporting requirements for K-12 health insurance costs while providing a carrot and stick approach to reducing costs in the system . . . READ MORE

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Gregoire will set terms of 2013-15 state union contracts

When it comes to determining the Collective Bargaining Agreements (CBAs) with state employee unions, there is no such thing as a lame duck Governor in Washington. Even though Governor Gregoire is not running for re-election and come January 2013 we'll have either Governor Inslee or McKenna at the helm, Gregoire will finalize the state's 2013-15 CBAs by October 1 of this year - a month before the next Governor is chosen. Based on the 2002 law that granted state employee unions exclusive bargaining rights with the Governor, a CBA is to be submitted to the Office of Financial Management (OFM) by October 1 . . . READ MORE

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Impact of pension reform deal

One of the most contentious proposals the Legislature considered this year was the plan to reform the state's pension system. The compromise bill ultimately agreed to (SB 6378) was adopted by a vote of 56-42 in the House and 27-22 in the Senate. Initial estimates show the reforms of SB 6378 will save approximately $1.3 billion over 25 years . . . READ MORE

GMAP fireworks

This morning's GMAP (Government Management Accountability and Performance) meeting was a good example of why I love this process. The hands-on executive management takes government off auto-pilot and forces agencies to be reflective and responsive to the performance expectations of the Governor. My hope is that the next Governor will continue GMAP and not let this management tool fall by the wayside . . . READ MORE

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

From near last to almost first on state balanced budget requirement

Starting with the 2017-19 budget, Washington will have one of the toughest balanced budget requirements in the country, assuming lawmakers don't amend or repeal the statutory protections created by SB 6636 . . . READ MORE

Monday, April 16, 2012

Editorial wrap up of budget agreement

Here is a snap shot of how the state budget agreement is playing across the state . . . READ MORE

Friday, April 13, 2012

How a bill SHOULD become a law

Based on an email update from Washington Education Association (WEA) President Mary Lindquist, it looks like Washington school children will soon be learning a new version of "how a bill becomes a law." Here is what she told WEA members . . . READ MORE

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Things were thrown in the budget deal at the last moment...

Interesting compare and contrast between the Governor's last two press conference on the budget deal. The first clip is from her April 11 early morning statements about calling the 2nd Special Session and no one needing to worry about additional time to review the details in the budget because there weren't any "surprises:" . . . READ MORE

Evolution of the 2012 supplemental budget

Here is the evolution of the 2012 supplemental budget . . . READ MORE

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Budget balance sheet has lawmakers rooting for Spain and increased oil supply

Just when I thought it was safe to go back in the water I saw the balance sheet for the compromise budget . . . READ MORE

201 days later we have a budget and structural reforms

Though it took an early morning 2nd Special Session, lawmakers finally approved a revised 2011-13 budget but more importantly adopted several significant structural reforms. 201 days ago the Governor held a press conference calling on lawmakers to balance the state's budget. At midnight this morning she called the 3rd Special Session to achieve this goal and the 2nd Special Session of 2012. Rather than let lawmakers take a break, however, the Governor had lawmakers pull an all-nighter to work through the remaining compromise bills. Here are some of her comments about calling the early morning 2nd Special Session . . . READ MORE

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Without accounting change, House budget results in negative $168 million ending fund balance

Based on the details of the House budget released today hopes of a grand budget compromise being within reached are quickly evaporating. Here is a quick cheat sheet on the last two budget proposals . . . READ MORE

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

State balanced budget requirement proposed with exceptions

I hate to be the bearer of bad news but there is no balanced budget requirement in Washington State. The Governor is required to propose a balanced budget (RCW 43.88.030) and if at any time a cash deficit is projected the Governor is required to immediately implement across the board cuts (RCW 43.88.110), but the Legislature is not required to adopt a balanced budget . . . READ MORE