By Jerry Cornfield
The final budget deal approved by lawmakers contains good and bad news, depending on your perspective.
Here are a few nuggets combed from the nearly 300-page document.
-The Secretary of State’s Office will be able to spend $813,000 to find additional temporary space for storing historic documents. The Washington State Archives is filled to the brim, forcing some important materials to be kept in a Tumwater warehouse without temperature and humidity controls required to maintain their integrity.
-The Aerospace Futures Alliance did not land a $200,000 grant to “conduct research and develop strategies” for linking firms in aerospace and other industries who rely on workers with similar skills. The state Senate backed the grant but Rep. Mike Sells, D-Everett, opposed it. He worried that because the nonprofit alliance lobbied lawmakers to support Boeing’s demands for the 777X program, some might view the grant as a form of payback.
-The state is going to try to calculate the economic impact of the 2015 U.S. Open which is taking place at Chambers Bay Golf Course in Pierce County. Revenue officials must figure out beforehand which counties might see an economic benefit from those descending upon the state for the golf championship. Then, afterwards, it must try to gauge if indeed there is an uptick in sales tax collections directly tied to those attending the championship.
-State agencies will get to spend $2.25 million on a “one-time basis” to buy electricity from an alternative source of power “consisting of high-efficiency cogeneration from woody biomass that is at least sixty-five percent energy efficient based upon low heat value, coal transition power, and solar energy facilities.”
-The Health Care Authority will spend $1.5 million in state and federal funds to screen children for autism at the age of 18 months. This program will get underway July 1.
-The Department of Health will receive $350,000 support Washington’s Healthiest Next Generation Initiative. Its many components include expanding programs statewide that increase access to healthy food and drinking water, and physical activity.
-The Office of Financial Management will spend $300,000 to conduct an analysis of statewide jail needs. It will look at the amount of jail capacity at the state and local levels, how local governments cover operational costs and the financial impact to counties of providing juvenile and felon detention.
-The Department of Ecology will receive $300,000 to conduct a study on the transportation of oil in Washington, including its impact on public health and safety, and potential improvements to spill prevention and response.
-The Department of Licensing did not get additional money it sought to clear away a backlog of pistol transfers that need to be entered into the database used by city, county and state authorities during investigations. The department sought $409,000 to hire part-time help. Now, agency leaders may have to finance it within existing resources.