Senate and House Release Damaging Budgets

The House and Senate Capitol Budget’s were released April 1. Both bills could negatively affect architects. The AIA/WA has testified in hearings for both. You can see the testimony in the House Capitol Budget Committee below. AIA/WA has also contacted House and Senate Committees responsible for creation of the budget with our grave concerns.

Budget Concerns for Architects
The Senate Budget assumes $743 million in Capital monies being transferred to the Operating Budget. Most of the monies are backfilled using bond revenue. The Senate is taking cash that they would normally use to pay for capital projects this biennium and transferring it to the general fund. They will then use long term bonds for one time revenue and put that money back into the Capital Budget.

It is like using your Visa to pay your American Express. You incur long-term debt for what is otherwise a onetime expense. Even with the backfill of some of the programs using bonds, it creates a negative bow-wave for construction and reduces the total number of projects that can be funded in the capital budget.

Even more alarming is the fact that these budgets do not balance design and construction services. A key principle articulated in the budget description for higher education projects effectively eliminates funding for pre-design funding. The section reads “create construction jobs now by targeting investments to projects that will create jobs sooner rather than later. This principle is operationalized in the Senate proposal by prioritizing projects that are closer to being ‘shovel ready’ over those that are not, and by authorizing no pre-design and very few design projects, in order to provide as much funding as possible for construction.”

It is very shortsighted to not plan for future construction. In past recessions, public projects have been a bridge to when private construction restarts. The AIA/WA will continue to urge the legislature to rethink the cuts to pre-design and design and the transfer of Capital monies.

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