Dear friends and neighbors,
I hope you are enjoying the glimpse of summer we are having.
In Olympia, I am hoping to see a similar sun break in budget negotiations. Our budget team has done all they can to bring Republicans to the table. Senate Republicans have finally begun exchanging “budget offers” with Democrats. A small step, but a step in the right direction.
I remain committed to focusing on our state’s paramount moral and constitutional duty to fully fund K-12 education as mandated by the Supreme Court and passing a bi-partisan budget that is not balanced on the backs of low-income and working class families.
As always, please contact me if you have any questions or concerns.
27th District Capital Budget Projects
In addition to passing the biennial (two-year) operating and transportation budgets, I hope we will also be passing a construction budget, also known as the capital budget. This provides critical funds for construction and retrofitting of public buildings like schools and colleges, as well as grants for local community projects.
Here are some of the highlights of the capital budget that passed the House in the regular session:
K-12 School Construction:
• Over $1 billion for the School Construction Assistance Program (SCAP). (This includes an increase in student space allocation for K-6 schools to help reduce class sizes)
• $30 million for rural and distressed schools
• $15 million for STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) grants
Other Education Construction:
• $800 million for higher education construction projects, of which $433 million is for community and technical college projects, including $3.1 million for the new Bates Technical College Medical Mile Health Science Center. This new building will replace the West Annex building at the downtown Tacoma campus, providing space for Allied Health and STEM programs.
• $15.5 million for early learning facilities
Mental Health Construction:
• $76 million for Community Behavioral Health Capacity in communities across the state, including $3 million for the Multi-Care Franciscan joint venture psychiatric hospital to be built in Tacoma
• $58 million for construction, renovation, and upgrades at state facilities (Western and Eastern State Hospitals)
• $24 million for supportive housing (a combination of affordable housing and support services to help families and individuals in recovery or transitioning from homelessness, involuntary mental health commitment, and other crises)
Housing and Other Investments:
• $105 million for the Housing Trust Fund (funds construction and preservation of affordable housing statewide)
• $65 million for clean energy, solar, and energy efficiency projects
• $54 million for maintenance and preservation projects in our state parks (an increase of $2.5 million over last biennium)
• $18 million for forest health/wildfire prevention
In addition to the above statewide investments, the following construction/renovation/remediation projects in our district received capital budget allocations:
• $2.5 million for the Tacoma Community House
• $2.5 million for the Eastside Community Center
• $1.2 million for the Boys and Girls Club of South Puget Sound
• $1.0 million for the Broadway Center
• $1.0 million for the Intrepid Spirit Center
• $1.0 million for the Tacoma Art Museum
• $1.0 million for soil remediation at the UW Tacoma Campus
• $330,000 for the Peace Community Center
• Nearly $150,000 to expand SeaMar dental clinic capacity, which will help low-income and Medicaid-eligible people access much-needed dental health care
To find a more detailed explanation of each project, visit this website.