Office of Planning and Budgeting

Governor Inslee’s 2018 Supplemental Operating and Capital Budgets

Governor Jay Inslee released supplemental operating and capital budget proposals on Thursday. For more information, please see OPB’s brief. The Governor’s operating budget proposal includes technical corrections and minor appropriation changes to the current 2017-19 biennial budget (fiscal years 2018 and 2019). Because the legislature did not pass a capital budget in 2017, the Governor’s capital budget is a two-year budget covering the entire biennium.

Despite moderate growth predicted in the November Revenue Forecast, lawmakers in Olympia face significant challenges. Most notably, the Washington State Supreme Court recently ruled that the legislature has still not met its obligations to fully fund K-12 education required by their ruling in McCleary v. State of Washington. Governor Inslee’s proposal reflects this budgetary reality, proposing increases for K-12 education but only minor changes in overall funding for higher education institutions compared to the enacted 2017-19 biennial budget. New investments directed at the UW include additional funding for computer science enrollments.

On the capital side, the Governor’s proposal is similar to the proposed final capital budget that was negotiated, but ultimately not approved, in the 2017 session. That budget was not passed due to a disagreement over a fix to a different Washington Supreme Court decision regarding water rights (Whatcom County v. Hirst).

The Governor’s budget release marks the first step of the 2018 legislative session – set to begin on Monday, January 8, 2018. As a reminder, the House and the Senate will propose their own budgets throughout this short 60-day session as they work toward compromise supplemental budgets.

Stay tuned to the OPBlog for updates during the 2018 legislative session.


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