Legislative Update: A Balanced Approach to Washington’s Budget

Dear neighbors,

This week, House Democrats rolled out three major budget packages and a state revenue plan for the next two years. The proposals reflect our values and commitment to an inclusive future and economy that works for everyone, not just the wealthy few.

We will invest in the people of Washington by funding K-12 education, affordable housing, higher education, behavioral health services, and additional projects critical to communities across our state.

Read below for more information, tune in to TVW to watch Monday’s press conference which covers all three budgets, or watch this video on the House Democrats’ Facebook page

The budget itself, and supporting documents can be found here.

Making investments in our state and communities

We are working to contain costs, but as our population continues to grow, so does the traffic on our roads, the number of students in our classrooms, and our overall cost of living. The budget fulfills the Legislature’s obligation to fully fund K-12 public education, which has absorbed most of the newly generated state revenue over the past few years. About 53 percent of the state budget – tens of billions of dollars goes to education.

In addition to our continued investment in public education, we are funding critical areas of the state budget, including behavioral health, affordable housing, environmental priorities, and a new Workforce Education Investment.

You can read an overview of the entire budget proposal, but we wanted to highlight the following items that many of you have reached out about this session.

  • $206 million for behavioral health to run state hospital operations, expand community behavioral health beds and services, and treat substance use disorder.
  • $643 million more into K-12 public education to fulfill our promise to fund health care coverage for school employees, fund special education, provide levy assistance in low-property value areas, and support student mental health and safety.
  • $34 million into affordable housing and homelessness for permanent supportive housing, youth homelessness prevention, and the Housing and Essential Needs Program, which helps people with disabilities struggling to find or maintain housing.
  • $608 million for the new Workforce Education Investment, which expands the Washington College Grant, prioritizes expansion of career pathways programs to guide students through community and technical colleges, and increases capacity within higher education institutions for high demand fields, like computer science, engineering, nursing, and medicine.

In order to fund these needed investments, House Democrats are capturing the influx of enormous wealth in our state through a proposed Extraordinary Profits Tax from the sale of stocks and bonds where profits are over $100,000 for a single filer and $200,000 for joint filers. This tax would only affect the extraordinarily rich people in our state – only 13,400 households, or about 0.4 percent of the taxpayers in the state would be responsible.

Also proposed is a change to the Real Estate Excise Tax (REET) structure, which would cut taxes for 82 percent of Washingtonians selling their homes. Rates would only increase for those selling property valued over $1.5 million.

Building schools, affordable housing and keeping our growing population moving

Washington’s economy is booming and with it has come an explosion in our population, but this growth is straining our transportation system, housing affordability and classrooms. In the House Democratic capital budget and transportation proposals released on Monday, there are large investments in every corner of our state.

Highlights include $1.1 billion to build public schools, $155 million for affordable housing, $463 million to help salmon and orcas and $117 million for community behavioral health facilities.

There is also a $10 billion transportation budget investment for new ferries, a new bridge connecting Washington and Oregon and major funding to remove fish-barriers in road culverts as part of the solution to help our struggling orca population.

The projects funded in these budgets won’t just help address many of the pressing issues we are facing, like affordable housing and the mental health crisis – these projects will also put people to work all over Washington.

You can look at the full details of the budget proposals with the links below, including access to information about projects happening in our area.

Capital Budget

Transportation Budget

We worked to ensure that projects in the 11th District were funded. A couple of the projects we are most excited about are:

  • $196,000 for a high quality early-learning facility within the Tukwila Public School District. This will be similar to the inclusive preschool program at Meadow Crest Early Learning Center in Renton.
  • $1 million to renovate a former Renton library into the Sunset Multi-Service & Career Development Center. The center will include meeting and office spaces for local community organizations and services, including case management, senior assistance and employment services. It will also have medical exam rooms for primary care and classrooms for adult education, workshops and childcare.
  • $1 million into HealthPoint’s Tukwila Health and Wellness Center which continues our dedication to the re-development of International Blvd. This centrally located health clinic will provide comprehensive medical and dental services while addressing local community factors and social conditions that impact our health.
  • $41 million to construct a HOV/transit direct connect ramp on the I-405/SR 167 interchange to reduce rush hour traffic congestion. Currently, this interchange experiences eight hours of traffic congestion each day.

We hope you’ll join us in supporting these proposals that really focus on investing in our future.


Rep. Zack Hudgins                                                             Rep. Steve Bergquist