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The Plot Twist: Budget Provisos

By February 18, 2022March 3rd, 2022Blog

Friends —

Picture this: You’re watching a reality TV show very similar to Survivor, except the people who slowly get voted off the island are bills, and instead of a ceremony where those who stay get a lay or a little token or whatever, it’s the islanders throwing axes at printed versions of the bills. That’s this year’s legislative session. And much like reality TV shows, well, it’s dramatic af and not exactly based in common sense.

In this Season’s Survivor:Washington Feb. 15 episode 6, Edge of Death, be sure to get the insider’s look at budget provisos after the ax-throwing. (You’ll hear a lot about budget provisos from players on the WAleg island and media soon.) This episode, watch as another bill gets axed off the island, and players are surprised by a couple unwelcome guests.

🚨 FYI: Police Accountability

Sure, our three priority bills around police accountability were axed off the island relatively early this Season, but moderate Democrats decided to bring back some unwelcome surprise guestsSB 5919 (More Dangerous Vehicular Pursuits & Physical Force), and HB 2037 (Allowing Police to Shoot People Running on Foot, Even without Charges).

🧐 Budget Provisos 🧐

Warning: This week’s tally is a little shorter because some of our best legislative resources were out sick.

In the event you weren’t subscribed to our newsletter last session, you might want to check the handy dandy refresh on the things we can do when our bills die (aside from screaming into the void, which we’ve done).

Most people find themselves in a catch-22 with budget provisos: studies and pilots take time but can be viewed as “necessary” to enact progress, and making a budget proviso valid in the eyes of legislators is subjective at best. For example, Washington State has never funded Black health or medicine.

Looks like Washington might finally do it with some investments in the Tubman Center this year. The proposed House and Senate budgets will be posted here Feb. 21. The Governor’s proposed 2022 budget, which was already posted, does have a line time of $1.1 million for the Center!

All in all, though, the irrefutable fact this session: Moderate Dems make this process harder than it needs to be. Budget provisos are hard to suss out because they are often unplanned outside of legislators themselves. They’re also put together behind closed doors over the course of just a couple days.

Graphic shows a chart depicting Washington State's two-year operating budgets adjusted for economic growth since 1995. For 1995-97, WA's state funding was $72.4 billion with zero federal stimulus. 2007-09 had $65.7 billion with a sliver of federal stimulus. 2021-23 proposed budget has $71.6 billion with federal funding but a MUCH larger chunk coming from federal stimulus, and the total from the state is less than all previous years. Graphic from Washington Budget & Policy Center.

What we do know: HB 1099 will hopefully also have a budget proviso for community organizations to participate in updated GMA planning that actually includes environmental justice and accounts for the climate crisis.

Meanwhile, Front & Centered also took the time to analyze how Governor Inslee’s budget handles and mishandles environmental justice.

Do check out the Washington State Budget & Policy Center’s analysis on the tax cut situation this year. Note how the state has consistently decreased funding into our communities since 1997.

What do you think? Have any questions? Tweet us your thoughts @wacommalliance. Keep up with the action and opportunities to get involved with our legislative newsletter The Tally.