OLYMPIA – House Democrats unveiled their supplemental two-year operating budget proposal today, which would increase funding for public schools, mental health services, college financial aid and provide $1 billion in property tax relief for families across Washington state.
As a result of increasing property values and the property tax increase championed by Senate Republicans last year now in effect, many families have reached out to lawmakers asking for property tax relief.
The proposal from House Democrats would provide short-term relief to the tune of $1 billion in property tax reductions for millions of families across the state. A second proposal would provide long-term relief, replacing part of the Republican property tax increase with a capital gains excise tax.
On the investment side, House Democrats have proposed:
- $446 million for public schools, primarily focused on increasing special education funding, adding family engagement coordinators in elementary schools, additional guidance counselors in middle schools, and adjusting the new teacher salary regionalization model.
- $339 million for increased services for people with mental illnesses.
- $156 million to fully fund the State Need Grant
- $32 million to strengthen the safety net by fully restoring and increasing Temporary Assistance for Needy Families.
In addition to these investments, the proposal will provide $1 billion in property tax relief for families and leave more than $1.6 billion in reserves over the next four years.
“We focused on a few key areas where people are really in need, whether it was our school kids, people who needed access to health care, or to mental-health care, or people who relied on our social safety net,” said House Majority Leader Rep. Pat Sullivan, D-Covington. “That was our focus. That’s our focus again this year, really putting people first and making those investments where they’re needed.”
“Every time lawmakers meet in Olympia, it gives us an opportunity to improve peoples’ lives,” said Rep. Timm Ormsby, D-Spokane, chair of the House Appropriations committee. “That’s exactly what Democrats did last year with our ‘Families First’ operating budget and that’s what we’re doing again this year. Democrats are putting people first.”
“Washington state has the most upside down, regressive tax system in the country,” said Rep. Kris Lytton, D-Anacortes. “This proposal starts turning us right side up and lowers property taxes for every Washingtonian.”
The proposal introduced today is a supplemental budget, intended to make corrections and adjustments to the state’s two-year operating budget approved by lawmakers last year. The current fiscal year ends June 30, 2019.
The House is expected to vote on their budget on Friday.
Senate budget leaders introduced their supplemental operating budget proposal on Monday. Budget leads from the House and Senate will work over the remaining days of the legislative session to resolve differences in the two budget proposals.
Complete budget documents can be found here: http://leap.leg.wa.gov/leap/budget/detail/2018/ho2018p.asp
The 2018 legislative session ends on March 8, 2018.