A review of meaty budgets and the return of Potato Day

Here’s what’s happening on Day 44 of the 2022 session of the Washington Legislature.

NO CAPTION NECESSARY: Logo for the Cornfield Report by Jerry Cornfield. 20200112

2022 Washington Legislature, Day 44 of 60

Everett Herald political reporter Jerry Cornfield: jcornfield@heraldnet.com | @dospueblos

Want this in your inbox Monday-Wednesday-Friday? Subscribe here.

OLYMPIA, Feb. 22 — Welcome to a post-holiday edition. We are reading budgets and marking the return of Potato Day.

House and Senate Democrats wheeled out supplemental spending proposals Monday that are unprecedented in their sum and scope.

Collectively, they cover 1,530 pages — 782 in House Bill 1816 and 748 pages in Senate Bill 5693 — and each adds roughly $6 billion in new spending to the $59 billion two-year budget passed last April.

Where they agree

• Transportation: Both budgets make a one-time $2 billion transfer from the general fund into the multimodal account of the transportation budget. Those dollars won’t all be spent right away. Some will get used in a proposed 16-year transportation package.

• Paid family leave bailout: There’s $397 million penciled into the House plan, and $350 million in the Senate’s, to keep the state paid family leave program solvent through June 30, 2023. Back in December, Gov. Jay Inslee earmarked $82 million in his supplemental budget to keep the program afloat. The problem’s much worse now.

• State employee raises: Money is provided for a 3.25% pay hike for state workers on July 1, per a collective bargaining agreement. Most of them also will get a one-time, lump-sum payment of $3,400 under the deal. The tab for wages and benefits is $232 million in the Senate budget, $276 million in the House’s.

Community reinvestment: Both budgets earmark $125 million a year for grants for economic development and social justice programs in communities disproportionally affected by the war on drugs.

Three things the Senate wants

• $1.5 billion deposited in a new reserve account to continue activities that were begun or expanded with federal COVID-19 relief.

• $500 million for really large information technology projects for state agencies. One example is a long-overdue shift to electronic medical records of those housed in state correctional facilities.

• $200,000 to establish a work group to study and make recommendations regarding the potential legalization of the sale of psilocybin to adults.

Three things the House wants

• $300 million for creation of the Washington Student Loan Program to provide 1% interest loans to eligible college students.

• $200 million of federal COVID aid for grants to hard-hit businesses in the hospitality industry.

• $172 million to offset revenue lost by state and local governments by waiving sales tax on most purchases under $1,000 next Labor Day weekend.

Making frenemies

A proposed 6 cent tax on fuel exports isn’t sitting well with governors of neighboring states.

Here’s what they said on Twitter recently.

Oregon Gov. Kate Brown: “I spoke with @GovInslee today and made very clear that Washington taking unilateral action to increase gas prices for Oregon families and businesses is unacceptable.”

Alaska Gov. Mike Dunleavy: “Washington State is currently debating a tax that targets Alaska’s fuel costs. Their view of Alaska as a colony is reflected on a tax on all of us.”

Idaho Gov. Brad Little: “The State of Washington is at it again – trying to tax Idahoans unfairly. AG Wasden and I called on WA Governor Jay Inslee to step in and stop the state’s attempts to increase the cost of fuel for Idahoans and citizens of other Western states.”

Celebrate the spud

Potato Day returns Wednesday. That means free baked potatoes for all — until supply runs out.

This popular session tradition will be outside, on the steps on the Capitol’s north side. And potatoes will be handed out in pre-packaged boxes.

The celebration begins at 10:30 a.m.

To subscribe to the Cornfield Report, go to www.heraldnet.com/newsletters. | Previous Cornfield Reports here.

 

News clippings

Compiled by: House Democrats | House Republicans

 

On TV

Non-profit TVW covers state government in Olympia and selected events statewide. Programs are available for replay on the internet, and the channel is widely available on Washington cable systems.

TVW schedule | Current and recent video | Shows

 

Links

Contact your legislator | District lookup | Bill lookup

Legislature home | House | Senate

Caucuses: House Democrats | House Republicans | Senate Democrats | Senate Republicans

Office of the Governor

Laws and agency rules

Beat reporters: Jerry Cornfield (Herald) | Rachel La Corte (AP) | Joseph O’Sullivan (Times) | Jim Brunner (Times) | Austin Jenkins (NW News Network) | Melissa Santos (Crosscut) | Shauna Sowersby (McClatchy newspapers) | Laurel Demkovich (Spokesman-Review)

Talk to us

More in Local News

Logo for news use featuring the municipality of Lake Stevens in Snohomish County, Washington. 220118
Motorcyclist identified in fatal crash near Lake Stevens

Anthony Palko, 33, died Monday night after colliding with a passenger car. The juveniles in the car were taken to the hospital.

Marysville
Police: Marysville man shot sword-wielding roommate in self-defense

The roommates were arguing over eBay sales, according to police. Then one of them allegedly brandished a two-foot sword.

Logo for news use featuring the municipality of Lake Stevens in Snohomish County, Washington. 220118
Everett boy, 12, identified as Davies Beach drowning victim

Malachi Bell was one of three swimmers in distress Sunday in Lake Stevens. He did not survive.

Everett
Port of Everett hosting annual open house after pandemic hiatus

Also, Rustic Cork Wine Bar plans to open a second shop at Fisherman’s Harbor — the latest addition to the port’s “wine walk.”

Mike Kersey with Aiya Moore, daughter of Christina Anderson, right, talk about the condition of Nick’s Place in Everett, Washington on June 17, 2022.  (Kevin Clark / The Herald)
‘We’re all good people when we get clean and sober’

Who has fentanyl taken from us? A messenger who saved lives. A “street mom.” A grandpa who loved his grandkids “999 trillion times.”

Snohomish County Superior Courthouse in Everett, Washington on February 8, 2022.  (Kevin Clark / The Herald)
Bailiff’s comments leads to appeal of child rape conviction

Joseph Hall, of Snohomish, was sentenced to more than 13 years in prison. Now he faces another trial.

Jeffrey Vaughan
In unexpected move, Vaughan resigns from Marysville council

He got re-elected in November. But he and his wife moved to Texas when she received a job promotion.

Snohomish County Prosecutor Adam Cornell at the Snohomish County Courthouse on Monday, Nov. 15, 2021 in Everett, Wa. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)
How to answer Snohomish County’s basic crime questions? ‘Transparent data’

An initiative funded in part by Microsoft could reveal racial disparities, while creating an “apples to apples” database.

Chris Rutland and son Julian buy fireworks from the Big House of Boom stall at Boom City on Thursday, June 30, 2022 in Tulalip, Washington. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)
At Tulalip’s Boom City, fireworks are a family tradition

Generations have grown up at the Fourth of July institution. “Some people make good money, some are just out here for the pastime.”

Most Read