The nonprofit partnership Opportunity Washington is warning the state Legislature to avoid making future new spending commitments in a year of unprecedented pandemic-related financial help from the federal government.
The state is expected to receive $7.1 billion in aid for local, county and state governments from President Biden’s $1.9 trillion coronavirus aid package. An estimated $1.9 billion will go to Washington K-12 schools; $655 million for higher education institutions; and $635 million for childcare, according to numbers shared by the office of Rep. Suzan DelBene, D-Medina.
Further, state revenues have grown during the pandemic sufficiently to remove a budget crisis that was anticipated last year.
All of these factors motivated Opportunity Washington to post on its website: “It’s more than enough to fill general fund budget holes in most cases, but lawmakers can’t get giddy and take on ongoing expenses they won’t be able to afford once the federal dollars run out. Few people would bet on another round of relief of this magnitude.”
Washington Retail, too, is urging spending and taxing restraint, despite several tax increases under consideration during the 2021 legislative session. WR urges “No New Taxes” this year.