OLYMPIA – The House gave final approval today to a supplemental state operating budget focused on the state’s emergent needs such as housing insecurity and homelessness, child care access and affordability, and health care access. It also passed legislation transferring $200 million from the state’s Budget Stabilization Account to help respond to the outbreak of COVID-19.
The final supplemental budget leaves $3 billion in total reserves, helping better position the state for an uncertain economic outlook. At the same time, it invests in priorities House Democrats identified at the beginning of the session.
“People across the state are hurting and need our help. That’s why we’re addressing housing insecurity and homelessness. It’s why we’re making sure child care centers and nursing homes stay open. It’s why we’re providing more counselors for elementary schools. We’re stepping up and making sound decisions for the future of our state,” said House Majority Leader Pat Sullivan (D-Covington).
New investments in the supplemental budget include nearly $160 million targeted for immediate shelter needs of the state’s growing homeless population and support for new affordable housing programs.
Another $153 million is slated to increase access to child care for working families, strengthen the foster care system, expand early learning programs, and other increases.
Health care investments include a 15 percent increase to Medicaid primary care rates, support for rural health clinics, and increased funding for foundational public health.
“Behind every one of these appropriations and behind every word in the budget, you’ll see our theme of putting people first. The budget makes prudent and responsible investments in the things that matter most and that we need most, particularly right now,” said Rep. Timm Ormsby (D-Spokane), chair of the House Appropriations Committee.
Additional guidance counselors for high poverty elementary schools, an increase in nursing home Medicaid rates, and funding for climate resiliency and mitigation are other investments targeting emergent needs.
The House also passed EHB 2965 today, which transfers $200 million from the Budget Stabilization Account to respond to the outbreak of COVID-19. From that amount, $175 is slated for helping to slow the spread of the virus and for treatment of those infected. The remaining $25 million is for assistance to businesses forced to temporarily lay off employees as a result of the outbreak.
Final budget documents and summaries can be found here.