No increased WA gas tax in ‘unprecedented’ $16.8B transportation budget – Crosscut

So Cap and Trade fees have helped us put an extra $3B into public transit along with good news for pedestrians and bicycles. But is it actually reducing CO2? To be determined.

Washington legislators keep calling this year’s $16.8 billion transportation budget proposal “unprecedented.” And in many ways it is. There’s $3 billion for public transit, a huge increase over previous packages. And a lot more money for pedestrian and bicycle improvements — $1.3 billion— all paid for by the carbon cap-and-trade fee approved last session, also unprecedented for the state. But what’s missing from the budget is perhaps the most unusual of all. This year’s transportation budget does not include an increase in the state’s gas tax. Liz Giordano reports. (Crosscut)

No increased WA gas tax in ‘unprecedented’ $16.8B transportation budget

2022 Puget Sound Budget

The Puget Sound Partnership (PSP) has released an initial budget for Puget Sound Restoration projects in 2022. These are the prioritized projects in total that will get funding from the PSP. There are a number of projects underway or awaiting funding to address dozens of root causes of the shape of the Sound. Habitat restoration, removing culverts, restoring streams, toxic reductions, monitoring projects, hatchery enhancements, helping farmers better farm for sustainability, education to foster better decisions by the public, the list is huge. When critics discuss restoring Puget Sound, they often look at the issue from only one lens (i.e. hatchery funding, etc.). This budget is looking at the 360 degree view of all that is currently on the table for restoration projects.

Each year, the Puget Sound Partnership develops a prioritized list of state agency budget requests related to Puget Sound recovery. The Partnership shares this list with the Office of Financial Management, relevant legislative committee members and staff, and our partners. As the Governor and legislators release their respective budget proposals, the Partnership updates information about the Puget Sound Budget to reflect the most recent information.
To interact with this chart, go to


Great overview of the budget proposals and the actual numbers. This seems to be a bi-partisan effort. Glad that the Conservation Districts are getting a boost, which is something I’ve argued for over the last six months. The Puget Sound Partnership is loosing some of it’s funding, which is unfortunate.

Washington environmental agencies are set to receive at least a modest budget boost the next two years despite earlier concerns that court-mandated education spending would require cuts to environmental priorities. Among the major environmental agencies, only the Puget Sound Partnership is set to lose operational dollars, largely due to a federal funding reduction, while several agencies will see substantial increases in operational funding to make up for past years’ cutbacks.

Washington state budget outlook predicts shortfall – Tacoma News Tribune

This has been the elephant in the room, for trying to get anything new done at the State. It shows that our economy is far from ‘back to normal’ as the revenues are still far below needs.  From what I’ve heard, our legislators don’t want to hear any asks for anything outside the current needs. It seems that someone, sometime is going to have to start telling the voters that if they want everything they are asking for, our tax system will have to be reformed. There is no way that we can get everything we want, and rely on the system that was such a good idea in 1865, when we had what seemed like unlimited trees to cut, and relied on virtually no big businesses for employment. Now, with the profits from Microsoft, Boeing and other global businesses being funneled into tax havens like Nevada and Delaware, the burden for all these needs falls on the people least able to pay for it, the public. But so many of them don’t want to hear about a progressive income tax. Without increasing new taxes, the burden for implementing McCleary for example, is going to fall on all the other state agencies, such as environmental protection, cleaning up waterways, fish and wildlife, higher ed, and the like. Is this really what you expected when you voted for these new measures? Where did you think the money would come from?

Washington state lawmakers are facing a projected budget gap of more than $2 billion for the next two-year budget ending in mid-2017, in large part due to a new voter-approved initiative to shrink class sizes, according to a state budget outlook released Wednesday. That projected shortfall does not include half of the expected financial obligation needed to increase funding for education as directed by the state Supreme Court, nor does it count the additional amount needed if collective bargaining agreements with state workers are approved. Rachel La Corte reports. (Associated Press)

Legislative budget battle didn’t block environmental progress – Seattle Times and WEC

A quick rundown of the legislative achievements, if you can call them that, from Olympia’s last session.  Would like to see the detailed list of where all the money actually went. Can’t seem to find it. I do know that money is going to go to Dungeness River restoration work. More will be reported as I find the detail in the budget.

Please do not avert your eyes because you see the words Olympia or Legislature. Yes, the double-overtime session was exhausting and exasperating, but lawmakers did talk about more than taxes and budgets. Important, if incremental, progress was made on various environmental fronts. Lance Dickie writes.

And the Washington Environmental Council did a little better at telling the story.

  • Secured nearly $200 million for Puget Sound restorationand water quality improvements, $65 million for the Washington Wildlife and Recreation Program, and $10 million for forest health projects that improve habitat and fish passage, mitigate forest fire risks, and contain diseases that make our forests vulnerable to fire.
  • Adopted bipartisan bills to address and prevent pollution from derelict vessels plus resolve some of our biggest concerns on changes to the Model Toxics Control Act. In addition, we worked with the Environmental Priorities Coalition to defeat a number of bad bills, including one that would have allowed the Pit-to-Pier project on Hood Canal and coal train transportation projects to benefit from an expedited permitting process.

Ecology budget squeeze: Efficiency or neglect? – Crosscut

Given the Department of Ecology backing of net pens against all opposition from elected local officials, scientists, and the population, perhaps it could be argued that they need to have their budgets cut. The question would be, from which department? Apparnently when one local elected official called on the new head of DOE, Maia Bellon, not long after she took office, she told him that her department couldn’t allow a ban on net pens in the counties Shoreline Master Program, that the issue had to be taken to the legislature. No one has ever said that before. Given that her department is one of the departments that approves in water aquaculture in the State, it was an odd statement. And she is getting paid how much to manage this organization? Given that even a nuclear power plant, a water dependent business, would have to be sited up off the waters edge, you would think that closed containment aquaculture could be also.

One potentially divisive piece of the Washington Senate-House budget talks is whether the Washington Department of Ecology faces significant cuts, including the potential closure of its Bellingham office. As with much of the rest of the state’s operating budget, the Republican-oriented Senate wants to trim part of Ecology’s budget for 2013-2015. The Senate’s Majority Coalition Caucus — an alliance of 23 Republicans and two Democrats — believes the ecology department has become too fat and should be trimmed to become more cost-effective. The ecology department disagrees. The Bellingham office plays a variety of roles, ranging from helping out in the response to the recent I-5 bridge collapse to working on the review of a proposed coal port north of the city.

John Stang reports.

Massive cuts to Puget Sound Partnership local programs likely

SF1972013Is the world really as cockeyed as it seems? I can’t image even a Libertarian bringing  such radical change to state government. And this from a Democratic governor and legislature?  Folks, the money is all gone. The safety net is gone. But I do see some money for the derelict net program still on the budget! Quick, Spend it! The poor department saps who thought they needed to save something for the next year now find their money swiped or non existent. This really makes budgeting an interesting exercise for next year, if you even have a budget to spend!

UPDATE: 11:00 Thursday 1.20
Apparently the bill will move to the House floor and voted on Friday, then to the Senate. Apparently there is no sympathy in Ways and Means for the rescuing the $500,000 in the supplemental. If you want to save this, you should contact them now.

Why? These programs are how the job of saving Puget Sound is going to get done. On the ground, locally to places needing help. Small projects not centralized in one place, that will educate, (like the video I did called Voices of the Strait) and get volunteers out to help get the work done. without these programs, things will likely languish and continued deterioration of the shoreline and water will continue. Nows the time to step up.

So here’s the entire posting of what is going to be on the chopping block. A big document, needing more time to parse. But the rough take is truly ugly. If you are poor, you are about to become poorer, if blind, less supported, sick, less likely to have the State help with medical issues, in jail, needing drug treatment to not get out and rob me again, out of luck. Needing a translator in a medical or court facility, forget it. Got HIV? Too bad. Needing personal care as an elderly person? No way. Mentally ill?  see you on the streets or in my doorway.

On the environmental front, here are the organizations that are contracted by the Puget Sound Partnership that the Governor created, with the job of  trying to clean up Puget Sound by 2020. That’s looking like a pipe dream at this point.

Puget Sound Partnership Cuts cuts PDF

These program recipients  likely will have their contracts cut, this week. Many of your neighbors are about to be thrown out of work. Many programs to help clean up the Sound and Straits are going away. Don’t like what’s here? Better pick up the phone and call your representative or senator in Olympia. Not much time left. It gets voted on Friday.

Some of the affected Peninsula Environmental Programs that will lose some or all of their state funding:

City of Port Angeles
Clallam County
Feiro Marine Life Center
Hood Canal Coordinating Council
Hood Canal Salmon Enhancement Group
Hood Canal School District
Jefferson County
Mason County
North Olympic Salmon Coalition
Olympic Park Institute
People For Puget Sound
Port Townsend Marine Science Center
Sea Grant
Washington State Parks
WSU Extension Programs – Beach Watcher, etc.
And others….

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