Last Friday, the governor vetoed several sections of the budget before signing his name in approval. The most notable consequence of his vetoes is that the budget is now projected to be out of balance.
The major vetoes are:
- Transfer of Life Sciences Discovery Funds to Education Legacy Trust Account – The Legislature had proposed eliminating new grants to the Life Sciences Discovery Fund (although allowing existing projects to continue to their conclusion) and transferring those funds to the Education Legacy Trust Account. The transfers were $20 million in 2013-15 and the intent to transfer the remaining $53 million in 2015-17. The governor vetoed the transfer – and, in so doing, reduced funding for the Education Legacy Trust Account, causing the budget to be out of balance at the end of the 2015-17 biennium.
- State Actuary Funding for Legislative Health Care Analysis – In one of the more important reforms in the 2014 supplemental budget, the Legislature had provided funding to the State Actuary’s office to expand their capacity and offer independent health care actuarial analysis to the Legislature, both as a check on the executive branch and to provide greater analytical tools to policymakers. The Governor, in a very unusual step, vetoed funding for the Actuary, which is a legislative agency.
- Disaster Response Account Transfer to General Fund – There was a $1.5 million transfer from the Disaster Response Account to the general fund. In light of the Oso disaster, the governor vetoed this transfer.
- Energy Freedom Account Transfer to the General Fund – There was a $500,000 transfer in the budget. The governor expressed concerns about the level of funding that would remain for the Energy Freedom Account and vetoed the transfer.
- Study of Revenue Impacts of U.S. Open – The budget required the Dept. of Revenue to conduct an analysis of the revenue impacts of the 2015 U.S. Open golf tournament that is scheduled to be held in Pierce County. The governor noted that there were no funds provided for this analysis, so he vetoed the requirement.
- Joint Legislative Audit & Review Committee Study of Savings From 12-Month Contraception Policy – The budget had required that JLARC perform an analysis of the assumed budget savings resulting from the state’s change to a one year supply of contraceptive drugs for Medicaid recipients. The Governor vetoed the study, although he noted that the Health Care