Dear friends and neighbors,
Over the course of the 60-day session that adjourned a week and a half ago, we passed legislation on issues that matter to you, as well as three supplemental budgets aimed at ensuring that, as our state recovers from the pandemic, we are bringing EVERYONE along in that recovery.
It’s time for a check-in to address your concerns and give you an update on our work, so we hope you will join us and Sen. Karen Keiser tonight at 6 p.m. for a virtual town hall. You will be able to type in questions in the comments during the event, or you can click here to send us your questions in advance. You can stream the town hall on our Facebook pages, or on YouTube and Twitter.
Please note, the livestream will not appear on most of the platforms until the event begins. You also do not need a Facebook, YouTube or Twitter account to view the livestream.
These have been challenging times for Washington’s families, small businesses, educators, students, front-line healthcare workers, and our most vulnerable populations.
Thanks to robust consumer spending over the past two years resulting in better-than-anticipated revenue forecasts, and one-time federal relief funds, our state is in a strong fiscal position to make smart, strategic investments. In this newsletter you will find an overview on the key investments we made to uphold the values that our community holds dear.
Leading with our values
In 2021, we passed a two-year Operating Budget to support people hit hardest during the pandemic, prioritizing the needs of Black, Brown, and Indigenous communities that have suffered the most and face the greatest barriers to recovery. This year, we’re building on that budget to continue supporting those hurt most during the pandemic.
We’ve proven that by working together and leading with our values, we can move forward together. Our supplemental state budget will turn these values into reality in our communities.
- Small businesses and economic recovery, including expanded Business and Occupation tax credits, $100 million for restaurants and hospitality businesses, $75 million for disaster response, and $25 million for arts programs.
- K-12 education: $2.3 billion for 2021-23, plus an additional $808 million in 2022 for investments in student transportation; nutrition, outdoor education, teacher salaries; and counselors, nurses, psychologists, and social workers.
- Children, youth and families: $827 million for 2021-23, plus an additional $245 million in 2022 to increase funding for childcare and providers and give stipends to youth who aged out of extended foster care during the pandemic.
- Homelessness and housing: $1.7 billion for 2021-23, plus an additional $318 million in 2022 including utility and rental assistance, landlord cost mitigation, homeless service and shelter providers, and a record transfer of $500 million to bolster the Housing Trust Fund.
- Public health and healthcare: $1.3 billion for 2021-23, plus an additional $837 million in 2022 to fund Washington’s COVID response and vaccination efforts, Medicaid dental services, and community health centers.
- Behavioral health: $520 million for 2021-23, plus an additional $277 million in 2022 to invest in substance use and mental health providers, recovery and treatment; housing and employment; and funding for crisis, outreach and diversion programs.
- Long-term care and developmental disabilities: $1.2 billion for 2021-23, plus an additional $1.2 billion for 2022 to fund provider rate increases and wages; employment and community services for people with developmental disabilities; and personal needs allowance increases.
- College and workforce development: $158 million in 2021-23, plus an additional $283 million in 2022 to create the Washington Student Loan Program; expand the Washington College Grant; and increase funding for healthcare and nursing education, training, and tuition assistance.
- Public safety, legal aid, and corrections: $189 million in 2021-23, plus an additional $215 million in 2022 to strengthen our response to domestic terrorism, fund the Office of Independent Investigations, domestic violence and sexual assault response, and civil legal aid.
- Natural resources: $342 million in 2021-23, plus an additional $620 million in 2022 to increase funding for salmon habitat and recovery, recreational lands maintenance, wildfire suppression and recovery, solar incentives, and invasive species control.
This year’s budget also includes a couple of provisos we requested:
- $450K ($150,000 in 2022 and $300,000 in 2023) in additional funding for the Running Start in the Trades/Pre-Apprenticeships Program. The program offers, through the Highline School District, pre-apprenticeship opportunities for at least two cohorts of students during the summer months. Students from the Highline school district and neighboring school districts in south King County are eligible for the program.
- $500K for the Open Doors for Multicultural Families Multicultural Village Project. The goal of the ODMF Multicultural Village Project is to build an inclusive community that intentionally addresses the challenges vulnerable and underserved communities face. This includes providing language access, as well as knowledgeable and culturally informed care to people with developmental or intellectual disabilities, as well as other disabilities, and black, indigenous, and people of color.
Creating a sustainable future
This session, the Legislature passed Move Ahead Washington, a transformative transportation package that makes historic investments to improve the way we move people and goods.
Over the course of one year, House Democrats hosted over 90 listening sessions to hear the top transportation priorities from people across the state. This package addresses those concerns and commits to a sustainable, achievable future in transportation—without raising the gas tax.
The Move Ahead Washington package puts people first with investments that include:
- $5.4 billion for electrification, expanding affordable, accessible multimodal options, and reducing our carbon footprint.
- $3 billion for maintenance and preservation of our existing infrastructure.
- $3 billion for public transportation.
- Free fares for passengers 18 and younger on all public transportation.
- $2.4 billion to fund fish passage barrier removals.
- $1.3 billion in active transportation, including Safe Routes to School and school-based bike programs.
- $1 billion to fund Washington’s portion of an I-5 replacement bridge across the Columbia River.
- $836 million to build four new hybrid-electric ferries.
- $150 million towards ultra-high-speed rail.
- $50 million for walking and biking infrastructure in underinvested communities, and to increase opportunities for good jobs in the transportation sector.
Move Ahead Washington also invests in our district by funding important local projects:
- $3.5 million for design, right-of-way acquisition and construction of the Barnes Creek Trail South Segment between S. 240th Street – 16th Ave S to 20th Ave s.
- $2 million for interurban trail improvements including 212th Street, Meeker Street, James Street, 259th Street, Smith Street, and 262nd.
- $6 million for easement acquisition with BNSF and construction of the southern-most segment of the Eastrail.
- $20 million for the 224th corridor completion.
Building hope and progress
We passed a $1.5 billion state construction budget to investment in housing, economic development, early learning, broadband internet, and more. This level of investment was made possible by $650 million in one-time funding from the state operating budget, $305 million in bond revenue, and $329 million from the Biden administration’s Infrastructure Investment & Jobs Act funds.
Three local projects received allocations in this year’s Capital Budget:
- $450K for Open Doors for Multicultural Families in Kent
- $309K to help advance green street planning in Des Moines, which will help make 223rd Street more accessible for pedestrians.
- $2.4M for the Boulevard Park sanitary sewer extension in Burien.
We also made statewide investments, including:
- Housing and shelter: $439 million for investments in rapid housing acquisition, permanent supportive housing, support for homeless youth, and preservation of existing mobile and manufactured housing.
- Behavioral health: $111 million for residential crisis triage and stabilization facilities, community behavioral health capacity grants, and capital investments at state-run behavioral health facilities.
- Early learning, public schools, and higher education: $101 million for seismic upgrades at public schools, early learning facility projects, public university improvements, public community and technical colleges support, and historically distressed public school grants.
- Essential infrastructure: $308 million for the Public Works Board (PWB), clean water, the Community Economic Revitalization Board (CERB), specific infrastructure projects around the state, and infrastructure at ports.
- Broadband: $100 million for the State Broadband Office, and broadband projects in unserved and underserved areas.
- Clean energy: $101 million for low-income weatherization, energy efficiency upgrades, solar manufacturing, and replacing T12 lighting in K-12 schools.
- Natural Resources: $271 million for water pollution control facilities, salmon recovery, Springwood Ranch, state parks projects, and the Voluntary Stewardship Program.
- Local & Community Projects: $64 million for requested local projects, dental capacity, and food banks.
A Thank You
These budgets all represent an incredible investment in our state, from bolstering our economic recovery to creating a new, more environmentally friendly approach to transportation in Washington. They incorporate feedback from our constituents, stakeholders, agencies, legislators, and so much more. They’re only possible thanks to the dedicated work of our legislative staff, who help us keep track of all the details, meet our deadlines, and make sure we’ve dotted the i’s and crossed the t’s.
We both want to express our profound thanks to the people who work hard behind the scenes to make this place successful.
And we want to thank you as well for taking the time to read this report, but also for getting involved and letting us know what’s on your mind. Your input is at the core of our work and guides our decisions.
We hope you will join us this evening!
Rep. Mia Gregerson & Rep. Tina Orwall