WACD Legislative Budget Outlook

This is the time of year where the rubber meets the road, when hypothetical budget proposals become real numbers. This will be WACD’s focus for the rest of the legislative session. We may even start to dream about these numbers

The work done by WACD and its member-districts leading up to this session, and during these first couple months, already bore fruit. The highlight of the budget proposals from WACD’s perspective is a proposed $5 million in new, ongoing funding for Conservation Technical Assistance in the Senate’s FY21-23 Operating Budget. That would be a game-changing figure for many districts. Your collective efforts also helped to convince legislators to support a House Appropriations committee amendment for $3 million in one-time wildfire recovery funding with the Commission as the pass-through.

As the House and Senate take up their respective operating and capital budget proposals, this is an opportunity for districts to reach out to their legislators and advocate for CD priorities. Budget writers will spend the next few weeks reconciling the differences between the two chambers’ budgets. While districts are reaching out to their legislators, WACD and our lobbyist will be contacting the budget writers and making our priorities known as well. Between the two chambers’ capital budgets, one or the other chamber funds Conservation Commission programs adequately and we should reference the preferred version except when it comes to CREP. For CREP, WACD will need to advocate for a higher funding amount ($6.25 million) than what was proposed than either the House ($4.25 million) or Senate ($3.7 million) versions.

From WACD’s perspective, below are the salient state-level highlights to bring to legislators’ attention. Feel free to use your own words or share pictures as to why any of these requests are important to your district, odds are your district conducted a project tour with your legislator and showcased a site where the state funding made a difference. WACD can provide some state-level talking points to any who request them.

WACD Priorities

  • Support the Senate’s operating budget with $5 million in new CTA funding for the Commission.
  • Support the House operating budget Commission proviso of $3 million to fund wildfire recovery projects.
  • Ask for $6,250,000 million in capital budget CREP funding to meet the demonstrated need and continue the momentum of this salmon recovery program.

Other Important Budget Differences

  • WACD supports the House’s version of funding $7 million in RCPP projects in the capital budget.
  • WACD supports the Senate’s capital budget amount of $4 million in Irrigation Efficiency funding.
  • WACD supports the Senate’s version of providing $4 million in Natural Resource Investment capital budget funding.
  • WACD supports the Senate’s version of providing $4 million in Shellfish capital budget funding.

Additionally, if you have a district-sponsored project on one of the capital budget projects lists, make sure your legislators are aware if that project is only funded in the House or Senate version.