Will Wilson is a former GOVERNING correspondent.E-mail: email@example.com
Washington state is looking at about a $5 billion budget shortfall over the next couple years, given current projections. That doesn't necessarily mean legislators in Olympia are getting fewer requests for spending. From a Seattle Times article:'What will be really difficult is if everybody comes in with exactly the same mind-set, which is typically: "Hey, we want a raise. We need this much money. We have this great program we have to have," ' said House Majority Leader Lynn Kessler, D-Hoquiam.
Of course, that seems to be everybody's mindset. Here's a sampling of new requests:
o The UW's plan to draw about $150 million from King County taxes that helped build professional sports stadiums, footing about half the cost for a renovation of the aging Husky Stadium.
o Tacoma's desire for more money to fix the troubled Murray Morgan Bridge. Rep. Dennis Flannigan, D-Tacoma, recently told The News Tribune he'll seek $25 million more from the state for that project.
o The environmental lobby's pitch for fees on polluters, raising money for government projects aimed at helping waterways, including contaminated Puget Sound.
o About $100 million in pay raises for state workers. Although raises were negotiated in new contracts with the governor, the Legislature decides whether it wants to, or can afford to, pay the bill.
o Continued expansion of health coverage for kids, including families that make up to 300 percent of the federal poverty level, and mental- health aid for immigrant kids.
o Major changes to the way property taxes are levied, including a proposal from Rep. Mike Armstrong, R-Wenatchee, for a constitutional amendment tying property taxes to annual measures of inflation and deflation, such as the Consumer Price Index.
o About $40 million for a new phase of the long-planned north-south freeway in the Spokane area.
The stadium funding proposal isn't exactly new -- and might be an open sore in the city. The Sonics had wanted those same funds for a new arena and left town when their request was denied. Though the university will almost certainly be a more sympathetic supplicant than the basketball team, does it help matters that a portion of those tax receipts are still paying off Kingdome bonds eight years after that ballpark was blown up?
Written and compiled by staff writers and editors, GOVERNING View is an on-the-ground, and sometimes behind-the-scenes, look at the topics we're covering in print and online. From notes on what's up in statehouses, county courthouses and city halls, to encounters with people, places and things, GOVERNING View is a window into the side of state and local government you don't always see.