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Lawmakers reach tentative state budget agreement

By Mark Johnson, Senior Vice President of Government Affairs

As the end of the state fiscal year approaches – July 1 – state lawmakers have announced an agreement in principle on a new state budget.

The Governor’s office today made the announcement about the agreement. A vote to approve by the full Legislature is expected by Friday of this week.

The only thing the Legislature has to do is approve an operating budget.  All other bills are extra.

Details of the proposal were unavailable today until negotiators were able to brief members of party caucuses about what’s included in the proposal. Democratic House Majority Leader Pat Sullivan and GOP Senate Majority Leader Mark Schoesler each said that details won’t be publicly available until Thursday.

Outcomes to several key retail issues remained pending as this was written.

These include a solution to remote sellers collecting sales tax that is due; a paid family leave program; and a fix to water rights for development.

WRA is encouraging the legislature to approve a balanced budget with no new taxes.  Retailers, their customers and other businesses are struggling to make ends meet.  Adding more taxes would hinder retailers expanding, hiring new employees or just remaining in business.  The state has seen a significant increase in its revenues from the last budget.  We should be able to meet our obligations of providing a top quality education and providing other essential state services without increasing or adding new taxes.

Retailers have to live within their means.  They can’t simply raise the prices of their goods.  They will lose business as rising prices discourage consumers from shopping.

WRA remains committed to working with legislators and stakeholders to find workable solutions to the budget and other important issues.  Let’s hope the legislature can complete its business by Friday, the end of the current state fiscal year.

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