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2022 Budget Suggestions Is Here!


July 29, 2021  by  Eric Lowell
Category:  Budgets and Budgeting

2022 Budget Suggestions Is Here!

I’ve been at MRSC for eight months. Before I got here, I frequently used the MRSC website to look up sample documents or search for information on various topics. During my first few months here, I realized there were many other amazing resources at the website of which I had been completely unaware. One of these is the annual Budget Suggestions publication, now in its 78th year, which we have just added to our Publications webpage.

With our 2022 Budget Suggestions, we have worked to condense information to give readers the key information needed for developing their budget. For those who are new to municipal finance and budgeting or want more information on specific topics, you can find links within Budget Suggestions to resources on our website for more in-depth discussions on topics such as revenue types and tax and population data.

Additionally, we have updated our State Shared Revenue Estimator to show cities and counties their 2021 populations and estimated per-capita portion of state shared revenues for 2022.

An Overview of the Budget Process

As with previous issues of Budget Suggestions, we have included key statutory deadlines for cities and counties, as well as information on budget hearings and key dates for getting voted revenue measures on the ballot.

This year, counties will want to note a change made to the deadline for certification of their property taxes. SHB 1309, which is a product of the 2021 legislative session, extended the deadline for the county legislative body to certify the county’s own property tax levies to the assessor from November 30 to December 15.

A Discussion of New Legislation

Each year we go through the list of bills coming out of the recent legislative session and highlight those that may impact revenues or provide new revenue opportunities. 

In response to the economic pressures of the COVID-19 pandemic, E2SHB 1069 allows expanded uses of certain revenues — some permanently, some temporarily. With EHB 1386, cities are now allowed to utilize targeted urban area tax exemptions that were previously only permitted for counties. And finally, after years of trying, ESHB 1189 makes tax increment financing available in Washington State.

Economic and Population Data

Budget Suggestions also offers an overview of the state and national economies, as well at the current status of the Consumer Price Index and Implicit Price Deflator (IPD).

For those governments with a population of 10,000 or more, an IPD at less than 1% means those governments will need a resolution of substantial need in order to levy the maximum increase of 1%. At this time, it appears that the IPD is safely above 1% for 2021. As we learned last year, unexpected changes can occur suddenly, and it did with the IPD. Although we forecasted the IPD to be above 1% in 2020, it sank to 0.60152% due to the sudden COVID-19-related economic contraction.

The IPD will be calculated again on September 25, and once this happens, we will let you know the official 2021 IPD.

Per-Capita Distribution Estimates

Each year we get forecasts of the different state shared revenue from various state agencies and provide per-capita distribution estimates for cities and counties. You can choose to use the information we provide to calculate your jurisdiction’s estimated distribution, or you can use our State Shared Revenue Estimator, where we’ve done the work for you.

It is important to note that these figures are projections only. Unexpected events can have a big impact on revenues. For example, the COVID-19 pandemic and the transition to work-from-home for many workers over this past year meant fewer gallons of fuel were sold and fuel tax revenue decreased. At the same time, the pandemic fueled an increase in alcohol and marijuana sales.

To keep updated on the state’s tax collections and projections, we also recommend following the state Economic and Revenue Forecasting Council (ERFC) and Transportation Revenue Forecasting Council (TRFC).

Other Budgeting Resources

In addition to 2022 Budget Suggestions, we have a lot of other budget-related materials on the MRSC website. In particular, see our:

  • City Revenue Guide and County Revenue Guide — Recently updated, expanded, and re-published, the guides contain detailed guidance on property taxes, sales taxes, and a wide variety of other revenue sources and options. We will be updating these publications soon to reflect the new legislation discussed in Budget Suggestions.
  • Financial Policies Tool Kit — Our online tool kit has expanded over the past two years to address financial policy areas such as fund balance, reserves, cost allocation, debt management, investments, and other policy areas that have a fiscal impact.
  • Tax and Population Data — The budget process is data-driven, and to that end we have expanded our population, property tax, and sales tax data to include historical data for each city and county going back 10 years, as well as local sales tax rates and components showing where your local sales taxes are going.

You can view all of our budget-related materials at Budgeting in Washington State.

If you have any questions or feedback on 2022 Budget Suggestions or other financial topics, please let us know! You can email me at elowell@mrsc.org.


MRSC is a private nonprofit organization serving local governments in Washington State. Eligible government agencies in Washington State may use our free, one-on-one Ask MRSC service to get answers to legal, policy, or financial questions.

About Eric Lowell

Eric Lowell joined MRSC in December 2020 as a Finance Consultant. He has been involved in local government finance for over 13 years, including working in city government as well as for a special purpose district.

Eric received a B.A. in Secondary Education from Arizona State University and a B.S. in Accounting from Central Washington University.

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