Our ‘Families First’ Budget
“Families First” is the driving principle behind the House Democratic budget. With our proposed budget, we will finally meet our constitutional obligation to fully fund our public schools, but not on the backs of working families. Rather, we’re making investments that are a true contract between generations that ensures our families can thrive.
Residents in our district and across the state have asked us how we can improve education, make college affordable, help kids, and increase access to quality health care. We meet all of those needs, and more, in the House Democratic budget.
The House Democratic budget fully funds education by investing in our classrooms, our teachers, and our kids. Our budget invests $7.1 billion in additional dollars for our K-12 schools. We put that money toward investments that will put high-quality teachers in every classroom, give students the education they deserve, and keep our promise to fully funding education. We also end the local school district reliance on levies to make up for funding shortfalls.
Education is our primary focus, but it’s certainly not our only focus. Our “Families First” budget makes key investments in early learning, higher education, critical human services, housing, civil legal aid, and quality care for our aging population and people with developmental disabilities.
I am particularly thrilled to share that included in this budget is a $1.4 million demonstration project that is the first step toward achieving what I proposed in HB 1251 – the right to legal counsel for foster children. Providing foster kids their own attorney has, in other states, helped reduce the length of time these children are in the foster care system, thereby improving educational outcomes and creating cost savings for the state.
We’re investing in a future that keeps Washington a great place to live, work, and raise a family.
You can read more about our budget proposal here.
Our budget stands in stark contrast with the Senate Republican budget, which:
- Slashes housing services for homeless youth & families;
- Rolls back progress to improve quality of childcare;
- Raises college tuition and ignores the growing State Need Grant backlog; and
- Rejects the $1 billion in federal funding that was approved from the Medicaid Transformation Waiver.
We have known all along that there wasn’t enough revenue to create an exceptional education system without cutting some or all of the critical state services mentioned above. This is an extraordinary budget year for the legislature, as we are attempting to solve a problem – chronic underfunding of our public schools – that has been building for nearly 40 years. Even our Republican colleagues agree that more money is needed, and in addition to deep cuts to state services, they proposed a $5.5 billion property tax to fund their budget – a property tax that would have a disproportionate impact on our district.
Our progressive revenue plan raises the funds needed to make these investments while at the same time cutting taxes for families and businesses and taking steps to reform our regressive, upside-down tax code. You can read more about our revenue package here and here.
So what’s next? Now that both chambers have introduced budget and revenue plans, both sides will start negotiating a compromise solution to send to the Governor. I remain committed to supporting your values and the values of Washington throughout the negotiation process.
How You Can Help
Contact Your Legislators
I get phone calls and emails every day. This communication helps me keep the priorities of my district front and center. I know I am not the only one who pays attention to phone calls and emails – other legislators do as well. I recommend you reach out to all your legislators and let them know that you support this budget. Have your friends and family do it too. The more people who let us know they support this budget, the better. You can email your legislators. To reach your legislators by phone, call 1-800-562-6000. We appreciate you contacting us and we would love to hear your thoughts.
Attend the Hearing on the Revenue Package
On Monday, April 3 at 8:00 am, the House Finance Committee (for which I am Vice Chair) will have a hearing on our proposed revenue package (HB 2186). I strongly encourage you to travel to the State Capitol in Olympia to testify on this bill if you are able. Questions on how to do this? Contact my office at 360-786-7814.
Thank you for reading my update. I encourage you to contact me about this and other legislative issues!
Rep. Noel Frame