A budget that fully funds schools, improves mental health services, and provides property tax relief
After several years of strong bipartisan work on education funding reform, last year the legislature enacted a budget that invests $7 billion in new education funding over the next four years.
This was a promise we made to one million school kids and is part of our obligations under the Supreme Court’s order in the McCleary case.
This year, we had one last piece of the education funding puzzle: increasing teacher compensation. Our plan originally increased teacher salaries in 2019, but the court wanted us to get it done by September 2018 instead.
I’m pleased to report the budget we enacted this session fully funds our public schools and will put the McCleary lawsuit behind us once and for all. On top of teacher salary increases, this budget is good for Washington because it:
- Invests in our behavioral health system to help people in crisis get the assistance they need
- Expands access to higher education by drastically reducing State Need Grant wait list
- Helps rural communities increase economic development and job opportunities
- Strengthens the safety net for struggling families and vulnerable Washingtonians.
We also had the unique opportunity to lower property taxes
With unexpected revenue growth, the state had a surplus and several ideas were floated around on the best way to use those funds. I was happy to vote to lower property taxes in 2019 and give the money back to the people.
If you’re interested in reading the fine print, you can check out the details here, here, and here.
A Successful Session
There were so many big accomplishments this session. For me, it included seeing bills I developed for years finally make it to the governor’s desk.
House Bill 1298 will make sure we give all job applicants a fair chance at a career and House Bill 1377 will provide our students with essential mental health services. Both of these bills had been proposed for many years; to finally see all the work pay off has been the highlight of my session.
The Legislature also passed other bills I sponsored, including measures to expand access to the College Bound scholarship, promote pre-apprenticeship opportunities in our high schools, improve our High School and Beyond Plans, and develop procedures to make our childcare trauma-informed. I am proud of all the ways these bills will improve the lives of so many in our state.
The supplemental capital and transportation budgets will greatly benefit our area. From countless highway improvements to parking at the Mukilteo ferry. A new Edmonds Community & Senior Center to the new Learning Resource Center at Everett Community College. We have projects going in on every corner of our district. For interactive maps and project lists, please click here.
This was the year for landmark legislation, and a lot of the success we had in passing good policy was thanks to your involvement and valuable input. Some of these victories include the Equal Pay Opportunity Act, a ban on bump stocks, the Washington Voting Rights Act, same day voter registration and youth preregistration, net neutrality, police de-escalation, and so much more! And we managed to end on time for the first time in years. I can’t wait to see what we will be able to accomplish next year.
Thank you so much for your interest and taking the time to read my legislative updates through these very fast-paced sixty days.
I want you to know that even though the session is over, I am your representative year-round, so don’t hesitate to contact my office with questions or concerns. And if you have ideas for future legislation, now that I am back in district it’ll be easier to meet and discuss them, maybe even over coffee.