Washington Legislative Update -April 10, 2019

Yesterday was the committee deadline for bills not related or necessary to the state budget.  Meanwhile, budget conferences have begun to sort out the differences between the House and Senate versions of our state’s two-year plans for operating and capital spending.  Read on about what that may mean for United Way priorities.

Washington 2-1-1 Received Funding in Both Budgets But.  . .

The House approved funding the full request by advocates of the Washington Information Network 2-1-1 -- a bump in state funding of $500,000 while the Senate budget approved the same amount that was received in the previous two-year budget. The difference will need to be worked out in budget conference.  In 2018, Washington 2-1-1 responded to more than 265,000 calls that resulted in over 450,000 service referrals. If you haven’t already, let your legislative delegation know of your support for full funding (House version) of Washington 2-1-1.

Will the Legislature Step Up Local Funding for Housing?
The fate of HB 1406, which would share a portion of the sales tax revenue with cities and counties to create affordable housing or support their operations and maintenance, rests on what happens in the budget conference. The House included $69 million in the next biennial operating budget to cover the revenue sharing to local governments; but the Senate’s version had no allocation. That’s why the bill sits in the Senate Ways and Means committee, awaiting the decision of the conference process. When contacting your delegation, including funding for HB 1406.

Senate Committee Hears Sen. Billig’s Tax Reform Proposal
On Monday, the Senate Ways and Means Committee heard a summary of and took testimony on a striking amendment offered by Sen. Andy Billig (D - Spokane) to  SB 5961 that would establish a capital gains tax and use the proceeds to provide a $202 million credit to working families in fiscal year 2021. The bill would also cut small business taxes, reduce low-income senior citizen property taxes, and eliminate the sales tax on certain items such as diapers. Here’s a chart outlining the revenue changes. This link will take you directly to the part of the TVW video of the Senate Ways & Means hearing dealing with the proposal.

Bills dealing with ECEAP expansion, tenant protections and TANF made progress this week.  Follow the bills related to the United Ways of Washington's legislative priorities by way of our tracking list

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