Port of Allyn previews 2022 legislative session
January 13, 2022
The Port of Allyn received a recap of what to expect from its upcoming legislative session during its board of commissioners’ Jan. 3 regular meeting, thanks to a presentation by port governmental affairs consultant Holly Cocci.
The session began Monday. It’s the second year of the legislative biennium, or the shorter legislative session of the two, so it’s scheduled to last 60 days.
“Legislators attempted to lower expectations for the forthcoming short session,” Cocci said. “However, the lengthy list of emerging legislative proposals suggests the 2022 session will be a full agenda for sure.”
Among the matters Cocci listed are transportation funding, policing and public safety, and COVID-19 restrictions, as well as bills put forward during the 2021 session that did not pass.
“In addition to policy discussions, the Legislature will also make amendments to the 2021-23 operating capital and transportation budgets that were adopted during the 2021 session, thus creating supplemental budgets,” Cocci said.
According to Cocci, the state’s economy is outperforming the national economy, resulting in roughly $890 million in additional revenue, compared to what was forecast in March, which was the baseline for the current biennial operating budget.
“Revenues in the capital and transportation budgets, however, continue to be more limited, especially the transportation budget,” Cocci said, adding that the state received $14 billion in CARES (Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security) Act and ARPA (American Rescue Plan Act) funds. The CARES money has been fully allocated and spent.
Of the $4.4 billion in ARPA money that the state received, Cocci reported that $1.3 billion remains, but it’s set to expire at the end of 2024.
“Between 2019-21, we were able to secure a total of $732,000 within the state capital budget to restore the Oyster House,” Cocci said. “The port’s request this year is a bit more urgent in nature. We’ll be asking for $400,000 to develop the new well and booster pump facility.”
Cocci reminded the commissioners the port is under a mandate, by the state Department of Ecology, to complete the new well within two years, thanks to an extension that’s already been granted. State Rep. Dan Griffey, R-Allyn, is set to lead this budget request.
“It is a supplemental budget year, so it will not be easy to secure any funds this session,” Cocci said. “However, I think we’re in good standing, because this is urgent, it’s a state mandate and the port needs to increase its well capacity due to its obligation to the (Urban Growth Act).”
Cocci sought to temper the commissioners’ expectations — she said she anticipates receiving the full $400,000 would be unlikely.
Due to the omicron variant, the House of Representatives is conducting floor sessions “completely virtually” at the beginning of session, which Cocci noted “they were not going to do initially.” The House had previously planned “a more hybrid approach,” but now, it will “re-establish every couple of weeks throughout the session.”