WPC: State law requires Governor to issue across the board budget cuts if cash deficit projected

From the Washington Policy Center, State law requires Governor to issue across the board budget cuts if cash deficit projected, addressing tax shortfalls from COVID lockdowns in Washington State.

There are two legal options to respond to a state budget deficit: 1) The Governor orders across the board budget cuts, or 2) A special session of the legislature occurs liquidating the deficit. The first is a blunt instrument allowing no thoughtful response. The second provides the people’s legislative branch of government the opportunity to deliberate a more surgical response. The Governor, however, has made it clear he doesn’t plan to call a special session to allow lawmakers to meet to balance the budget. No special session leaves the obligation for the Governor required under RCW 43.88.110(7):

“If at any time during the fiscal period the governor projects a cash deficit in a particular fund or account as defined by RCW 43.88.050, the governor shall make across-the-board reductions in allotments for that particular fund or account so as to prevent a cash deficit, unless the legislature has directed the liquidation of the cash deficit over one or more fiscal periods.”

According to RCW 43.88.270:

“Penalty for violations. Any officer or employee violating, or wilfully refusing or failing to comply with, any provision of this chapter shall be guilty of a misdemeanor.”

Unless the Governor is now saying a cash deficit isn’t currently projected in the general fund, it is unclear why he believes this budget law doesn’t apply to him. Here is what Governor Gregoire did in 2010 when complying with this same legal requirement:

“ . . . WHEREAS, the anticipated revenues combined with the beginning cash balance of the general fund are insufficient to meet anticipated expenditures from this fund for the remainder of the current fiscal period; and . . .

WHEREAS, state law authorizes and directs the Governor to implement across-the-board reductions of allotments of appropriations to avoid a projected cash deficit . . .

NOW, THEREFORE, I, Christine O. Gregoire, Governor of the state of Washington, pursuant to chapter 43.88 RCW do hereby order: The allotment of each appropriation from the State General Fund will be reduced effective October 1, 2010, by an amount necessary to avoid a cash deficit in the State General Fund.”

The requirements of RCW 43.88.110(7) are based on the cash projection in a single account. This means when evaluating if a cash deficit is projected, you can’t assume balances in other accounts or the state’s emergency reserves. Accessing fund balances in other accounts, including the emergency reserves, requires an appropriation from the legislature.

If the Governor is not going to call a special session to allow the legislature to act, there is one simple question he needs to answer: Is a cash deficit currently projected for the general fund?

Organic Prepper: Ways to Prep When There Are No Supplies and You’re Out of Money

Daisy Luther at The Organic Prepper has a timely article out 12 Ways to Prep When There Are No Supplies to Buy and You’re Out of Money. Anyone reading the news knows that many preparedness/daily living items are in short supply, and with millions laid off or working reduced hours money is tight for many more.

If you’ve been prepping for the Covid-19 pandemic recently, you’ve probably noticed a couple of things.

  1. The stores are quickly running out of the supplies people want.
  2. People are quickly running out of money.

Both of these things are important. Of course, if there are no supplies, you can’t buy what you need. But secondly, you need to still consider your budget. This situation with Covid-19 will be personally costly. At this point, we all still have bills to pay and your stockpile won’t do you much good when it’s sitting on the curb beside you because you couldn’t make your mortgage payment.

So while I advise doing everything you can to be prepared, I also encourage you NOT to go deeply into debt now of all times. People are getting laid off by the tens of thousands right now. Everything is changing.

We’re at a critical point right now when there’s a crisis bearing down on us and we want to get prepared. But there are very few supplies left on store shelves to buy and many of us don’t have much money left to spend. This does not mean there’s nothing you can do. In fact, you’re at one of the most crucial junctures of preparedness right now.

How to prep without buying more stuff

Here are some things you can do to prepare for the possibility of quarantine when you’ve put a halt to the frantic spending. Make yourself a checklist and get cracking.

  1. Fill up all your containers with water. A Mason jar full of water takes up the same amount of space as an empty Mason jar. Go through your house and fill up every vessel you can with water.
  2. Organize your supplies. If you bought a whole lot of stuff in a frenzy – and let’s be honest, a lot of us did – you may have them stacked in a precarious pile in some area of the house. Take the time to organize your food. You can go about this in different ways – put ingredients for meals together, put all the veggies in one area, all the grains in another area…however you decide to go about it, getting organized will help you see what you have on hand.
  3. Make a menu. While you’re organizing your food stockpile, create some meal plans based on the supplies that you have.
  4. Organize first aid and medical supplies. Put all your first aid, over-the-counter medications, prescription meds, and medical supplies together so you can see what you have. Think about how you can improvise anything you’re missing.
  5. Organize other supplies. I keep my supplies in kits. I have a power outage kit with candles, lighters, flashlights, batteries, solar chargers, etc. I have a pandemic kit I created back in 2014 during the Ebola scare with masks, gloves, Tyvek suits, booties, and other things specific to a pandemic. I use big Rubbermaid tubs for these kits but you can use anything: cardboard boxes, even space on a shelf.
  6. Do a home-security check.  Go outside and take a walk around your house. Are there things that need to be addressed to make your home more secure? Do you need to trim back some shrubs to keep the area under windows visible? Should you secure downstairs windows so they can’t easily be raised up from the outside? Can you put a locking latch on the gate in the back yard? Does your shed need a lock on it? Focus on the small tasks you may have been putting off to make your home more secure.
  7. Make a family security plan. Would your family members know what to do in the event of a home invasion? If not, you need to make a plan. Vulnerable family members need to get out of the way, and family members who are engaging the criminals need to know who is doing what so they don’t get in each other’s way. Place weapons and potential weapons in strategic areas around the home.
  8. Figure out a long-term water plan. Where could you acquire water if no longer came from the taps? Identify places where you could get water – creeks, ponds, rivers, lakes, even fountains if you’re in the city. If there’s nothing like that, figure out how you could capture rainwater the most efficiently. Make sure you have a way to purify this water.
  9. Take a look at your budget. Are there things you can cut right now to help you get better prepared for a long-term financial crisis? Slash unnecessary expenditures now. Call your insurance company for a better rate. Cancel subscription boxes.
  10. Spend some time learning. If you’re already in lockdown, make the most of your time by learning new skills and acquiring knowledge. The best thing you can do right now is to subscribe to Selco’s Patreon that he’s running with his business partner Toby. It’s only $1 a month and the information on there is timely and PURE GOLD. Learn to make things, repair things, grow things, and take some time to look into old-fashioned solutions. This is a great time to pick up some new skills. Read some of those books in your to-read pile and check out how-to videos on YouTube.
  11. Clean and do laundry. This may not sound like a prep at all, but in the unlikely event that the power is interrupted, it would really be bad to start out with a house that needs to be vacuumed and a sky-high pile of dirty laundry.
  12. Assess your neighborhood. If it’s still okay to go for a walk (without coming in close contact with others) take a stroll around your immediate neighborhood. Identify resources, like creeks or fruit trees in the park. Think about which neighbors are more likely to be allies and which ones you expect could be troublesome. This isn’t something you need to act on now – you’re just gathering information.

When you complete these exercises you may find that there are a few things you still need to buy. At the time of this writing, you can probably still do that. The good news is, these things are unlikely to be the stuff that everyone else is buying in a frenzy – think about essential hardware, high-level medical supplies, and tools.

There’s a lot more to prepping than simply buying stuff and piling it into a closet. The time you spend now on non-purchase prepping is also very important. It’s a whole lot easier to think things through right now when you are calm and well-fed than it is to try and figure them out when you’re under stress. This isn’t the time to sit around streaming Netflix or doing a crossword puzzle. There’s a lot of work to be done before we reach the point that we can’t do anything more.

So close that Amazon window on your computer and get to work…

Click here to read the entire article at The Organic Prepper.

Smart Survivalist: Low Cost Prepping – Your Survival on a Budget

Getting prepared at a low cost has always been a popular topic. Now that people have started to worry about the looming coronavirus pandemic, those who are unprepared are looking at getting prepared for the possibility of being quarantined for two to four weeks. Some have looked into their cupboards and realized (especially those living in big cities like New York) that they have nothing stashed because they are used to just hopping out and picking up what they need. Some have more money than others, but if you’re trying to stock up in a short amount of time your budget is limited. Here is The Smart Survivalist with Low Cost Prepping — Your Survival on a Budget. Canned beans, rice, and pasta are low cost staples. Make sure you have access to water and store some if you have space in case of power outages or other interruptions to your home water supply.

If you are only preparing for a 2-4 week quarantine, you can get by without having a full array of nutrition. For a short duration, you’re only worried about getting enough calories to survive through the period. For example, a 25 pound of oatmeal provides about 37,000 calories (not including adding milk, sugar or other toppings) or enough for almost 19 days at 2,000 calories per day. But you’ll need to eat almost seven cups of dry oats per day to get that many calories. So think about how much you’ll need to eat to feel full and how many calories you’ll have per day. Canned  beans tend to be rather high calorie per volume, so if you had oatmeal sometimes and beans other that would be more manageable from a caloric intake and fullness perspective. You may need to be creative to get a good variety of foods that fulfill your needs. And finally don’t forget hygiene products, too.

Low cost prepping is actually a doable task. We all should be prepared for the worst outcomes of today’s reality, but we don’t have to spend thousands of hard-earned dollars on survival equipment. It’s completely possible to just walk into Walmart, or Walmart’s counterpart in your country, and fill your survival list on a very small budget.

I’ve done my own research on this topic, and came up with a list of items that can make a big difference in disastrous events – yet each and every one of them does not cost more than five dollars. The items can be sorted into five important categories. I even took this research a few steps further and outlined ten of the cheapest and most useful of such items. And finally, I also discuss what necessary survival steps and techniques you can take without spending another penny…

All items on the low cost prepping list can be divided into 5 categories: first aid, water, food, hygiene items and emergency supplies. You might ask, do I need all of them? Well, a person can survive for 3 days without water, and as much as 3 weeks without food, but it would be a painful and probably lethal experience. And what if you are injured or running a fever? What if you are stuck on your roof for many days as your neighborhood is flooded?

As you can understand now, being fully prepared is a necessity. You will need the items that I am about to list, and trust me, I do not intend to suggest redundant or luxury items. These are the items that can be utilized when an actual disaster strikes, and all of them are on a budget. Just make sure you stock enough to last you at least a week. Also, before deciding on quantities, see how many members there are going to be in your group, and who they actually are. A child might need less food than a grown man…

s I mentioned earlier, you cannot survive for a long time without water. Fortunately, bottled water is cheap and non-perishable. You can stockpile as much as you need. You will need approximately 2 gallons for a person per day, which includes both drinking and sanitary needs. I would recommend buying even more than that, because you never know what might happen.

There is always the option of water purification, and I have written a thorough article about the best ways to purify water. Keep in mind, however, that some of the methods require additional investment, of time and/or money, while bottled water is always on a budget.

You can also stock on other low cost consumable liquids. Powdered milk costs less than $5, and one package is enough to prepare two gallons of milk. You can mix it with coffee and boiled water. Instant coffee and cappuccino mixes also cost under $5. This might not be your dreamy latte, but it’s something that can get you through a challenging day.

The total cost of products in the water category is no more than $30.

The most affordable and most reliable water filtering item is definitely LifeStraw (on Amazon). This award-winning tool has been globally recognized as a highly efficient water filter that allows you to drink any water directly. It’s ultralight, can be easly carried anywhere and nullifies the need for iodine tablets, as it removes 99.9999% of bacteries, parasites and pollutants. A trusty companion for every prepper and survivalist!…

Just like in case of water, you cannot survive without food. You need energy, nourishment, nutrients. For low cost prepping and for successful survival, we need to stockpile on food that costs less than $5 each and can last for years. It is also preferable to collect food that can be mixed with other food in order to create new dishes and break the monotony of identical dinners.

So first of all, there are cans. Canned goods can be your savior. You will need minerals and vitamins, but fresh vegetables and fruits expire quickly. The canned ones, however, can be consumed even if they are opened 2 years after they were packed. And these are the cans that I suggest to purchase:

  • Assorted beans. These can be chick peas, kidney beans, and several others. They fill you quickly and have tons of necessary protein.
  • Carrots (sliced)
  • Peas and carrots (a popular combination, and again a lot of protein)
  • Oranges or mandarins
  • Tomato sauce
  • Sliced potato
  • Lasagna
  • Mac and cheese
  • Cheese ravioli in tomato sauce
  • Italian pasta beef ravioli

In addition, there are foods that are not necessarily canned, but they can last for a very long time.

  • Pasta. This is an underrated food. Sure, it might seem boring, but it’s very cheap, very filling and can be prepared in minutes. You can always mix it with sauce or other goods. All in all, it’s a great source of carbs and energy.
  • Instant pudding (get several packs)
  • Flour – really inexpensive, you can make bread from it.
  • Sugar and salt – just keep them in dry places, don’t let them get wet!
  • Sardines
  • Ham
  • Chicken breast
  • Quaker
  • Raisins. Some don’t like them, but they are very nutritious.
  • Meatballs for pasta/spaghetti
  • Chicken pot pie soup
  • 5 pound bags of rice. Rice (particularly white one) can be stored away for a long period of time without going bad. It is very filling, very cheap and has tons of carbs to energize you when you most need it.
  • Peanut butter – a great calories source. Your body needs certain fats, and peanut butter has them. It’s delicious, and it provides you with additional energy that is needed for your survival.

The total cost of food mentioned here is no more than $175

Click here to read the entire article at The Smart Survivalist.

Related:

The Organic Prepper: How to Build a 30-Day Emergency Food Supply…Fast

Pantry Chart with shelf life (large image 1.5MB)