Washington State House Democrats


Side-by-side comparison of House and Senate operating budgets

House Democrats released our budget on Monday, a budget that speaks to our values. We aim to build a Washington that works for everyone, by cleaning up our upside down tax code and investing in the foundations of thriving communities, like excellent and fully funded schools, housing that families can afford, high quality healthcare, and strong environmental protections.  The budget passed by the Senate does not reflect these priorities.  Before it was released, I anticipated I’d have concerns about elements of the Senate’s budget. I am honestly surprised and disturbed by the number and depth of the inhumane and regressive policy changes in this budget. These changes do not reflect our values, nor our vision to ensure everyone in Washington can thrive.

I’ll be working hard with my colleagues in the Legislature to ensure we pass a budget that improves the quality of life for everyone in our state. As the budget consideration process continues, I’ll have more thoughts to share, but I wanted to provide this brief comparison of our House budget proposal and the budget passed by the Senate:

  • Fully funds basic education for our K-12 students via progressive changes to our upside down tax code
  • Invests in addressing our teacher shortage
  • Expands opportunities for career-connected learning
  • Delays full implementation, rather than total repeal of I-1351 (class sizes)
  • Senate Republicans cut money for programs that help the poorest children in the state get ready for school (ECEAP) by limiting access. At the same time, they cut money for programs that improve early childhood education to make sure kids start school ready to learn
  • Reduces the per-pupil funding amount even though they are required to fully fund education
  • Repeals voter-approved salary increases for teachers
Higher Education
  • Freezes tuition for four-year institutions and community & technical colleges
  • Backfills tuition revenue
  • Increases State Need Grant funding for additional 6,000 students
  • Senate Republicans do nothing to expand access to higher education for low-income students.
  • Raises tuition 2%
  • Increases funding for homelessness assistance programs (HEN), including youth homelessness and permanent supportive housing
  • The Braun/Rossi budget eliminates funding for homelessness assistance for youth and our some of the most vulnerable in our state (HEN). ($100 million over four years)
Health Care & Mental Health
  • Accepts federal funds from the Medicaid Transformation Waiver
  • Funds Healthier WA Savings & managed care rates to prevent cuts to HCA
  • Invests in public health at the local and state level
  • Funds significant behavior health investments including state hospital funding, community, long term care, developmental disabilities, Housing and supportive services, inpatient psychiatric and BHO Medicaid rate increases
  • Increase funding for respite care & employment services for 600 students with developmental disabilities.
  • Senate Republicans turned down federal Medicaid money that would help people in urban AND rural areas keep their health care.
  • While the Senate does make a significant new investment in mental health funding, they do so by refusing to fund almost all state employee contracts
  • Refusing to fund state employee contracts restricts the ability to attract health care providers at Western State, putting employees and patients in danger
Children, Youth, and Families
  • Funds the new Department of Children, Youth & Families
  • Increases case-carrying social workers to lower caseloads and better serve foster kids and families
  • Expands Early Childhood Education & Assistance Program by 3,000 slots and increases rates so programs can retain qualified staff and meet high quality standards
  • Increases Working Connections Child Care rates to keep quality providers
  • Does not fund the proposed Department of Children, Youth and Families, designed to consolidate programs that help families in crisis. This landmark proposal not only helps those most in need, it also uses money more efficiently by bringing all such services under one roof.
  • Senate Republicans make it more difficult for low-income workers to keep affordable childcare.
Natural Resources
  • Funds Ecology Clean Air Rule
  • Increases funding for State Parks operations & maintenance
  • Funds Model Toxic Control Act shortfalls
  • Neglects to fund Clean Air Rule
  • No additional funding for Model Toxic Control Act, reductions continue
Public Safety & Judicial Branch
  • Funds 16 Basic Law Enforcement Academy classes per year & training for prosecutors
  • Adds funding for IT and records staff at DOC
  • Increases funding for low income people to access civil legal aid attorneys
  • Expands Parents Representation program
  • Senate Republicans reduce Department of Corrections funding.
  • They reduce the length of community supervision for many offenders, as well moving offenders and the resulting cost to county jails.
State Worker Compensation
  • Funds all negotiated collective bargaining agreements
  • Funds ORCA transit passes for represented and non-represented state workers in King County (non-higher education)
  • Republican budget rejects all bargained state employee contacts except Department of Corrections and State Patrol
  • Even while cutting hundreds of millions from vital services, Senate Republicans still create or extend a variety of tax breaks.