OLYMPIA – With less than two weeks to go in the 2020 legislative session, the state House passed a supplemental operating budget this evening that invests in housing and homelessness, child care, and health care, among other emergent needs.
House Democrats stated back in January that these were some of the top priorities for the 60-day session.
“This budget puts more roofs over people’s heads, helps more working families access child care, and protects access to affordable health care in communities large and small,” said House Majority Leader Pat Sullivan (D-Covington).
“We’re addressing the needs across our state responsibly, putting resources where there is the most need,” said House Appropriations Chair Rep. Timm Ormsby (D-Spokane).
The budget makes a one-time, $100 million transfer from the state’s general fund to the Housing Trust Fund for new affordable housing projects, homeless shelters, and maintaining additional housing stock. Another $134 million is earmarked for other operating budget investments that address housing instability and homelessness.
With families and businesses alike struggling due to lack of accessible child care, the budget also invests in assistance to help families with low incomes pay for child care, and maintains subsidized pre-school slots for three- and four-year-olds most at risk of not being kindergarten-ready.
By increasing Medicaid primary care and nursing home rates, the budget supports health care affordability for individuals and families. It also boosts funding for rural health clinics, foundational public health, and the state’s response to the coronavirus.
No new taxes or fund transfers are assumed in the budget.
The state Senate passed its proposed budget on Thursday, February 27. House and Senate budget negotiators will now work out a compromise budget to be approved by both chambers.
The 2020 session is slated to end on March 12, 2020.