40th District Legislators Celebrate Investments Made by the Washington Recovery Budget

OLYMPIA — As the Legislature wrapped up the 105-day session this weekend, budget writers unveiled the compromise operating, transportation, and construction (capital) budgets between the House and Senate. Legislators from the 40th District have had significant opportunities to weigh in to ensure our community’s needs and values are at the table. The Washington Recovery Budget makes big investments in our communities to help families and small businesses recover from the COVID-19 pandemic. Highlights of the budget include:

  • $1.185 billion for COVID vaccines, contact tracing and testing.
  • $100 million for local public health districts and regions.
  • $1.07 billion for rental assistance in addition to the $325 million allocated in the Step One for Community and Economic Recovery bill (HB 1368) passed by the Legislature in February.
  • $600 million for unemployment insurance tax rate cuts to lessen that burden on businesses.
  • $250 million in small business grants to help get cash out to those businesses who kept their doors closed to protect others.
  • $166.6 million in mortgage assistance through the ARPA Homeowner Assistance Fund to help prevent foreclosures and delinquencies.
  • $140.8 million in food assistance programs so that families will not go hungry and to maintain our food security network.
  • $121.6 million in state housing/homelessness assistance.
  • Fully funding the Working Family Tax Credit, which provides a cash rebate to low income Washington families.
  • $340 million for immigrant relief funds, specifically providing unemployment-related assistance to our undocumented neighbors who have not been included in some past federal assistance.
  • $400 million in childcare grants and supporting providers for language access and navigators.

“We passed monumental bills that reflect the diverse population of Washington State,” said Rep. Debra Lekanoff (D-Bow). “Every policy is a reflection of the needs of our citizens that were impacted by the COVID pandemic and economic crisis. I am honored to serve with colleagues who ensured our rural communities were at the decision-making table whether we addressed small business relief, growth management act, infrastructure and broadband, education programs to COVID health care, agriculture to migrant workers.  We have much more work to get done in the interim and my sleeves will continue to be rolled up to work with community members to ensure the implementation of the laws and programs reach our front doors in the 40th.”

“As our economy rebuilds and recovers from the pandemic, we made it a priority to support working families and put people first in this budget,” said Sen. Liz Lovelett (D-Anacortes). Historic investments to increase access to affordable childcare and fund the Working Family Tax Credit will help hundreds of thousands of families, all while boosting our state’s recovery from the difficulties of the last year.”

“I’m especially proud of our work on housing this year. We’re investing $1.7 billion dollars to prevent a pandemic fueled wave of evictions and homelessness while investing hundreds of millions more in building supportive housing for those already experiencing homelessness and to ensure that there are more homes people can afford,” said Rep. Alex Ramel (D-Bellingham).

Significant investments in the 40th District include:

  • $4.5 million for supportive housing to augment the Swinomish Tribe’s Didgwalic Wellness Center for addiction recovery and treatment.
  • $682 million in Washington State Ferry investments including $152.5 million to continue work on the state’s first hybrid-electric ferry, and money for terminal improvements on Lopez, Orcas, and San Juan islands as well as Anacortes.
  • $245,000 to complete the Lopez Island Community Pool.
  • $474,000 to support the Guemes Island Ferry Terminal electrification.
  • $2 million for Mount Vernon Library capital improvements and $250,000 for on-site electric vehicle charging infrastructure.
  • Over $19 million in new and reappropriated funds to Department of Ecology for remediation and clean up grants in Bellingham, Anacortes, and Friday Harbor.
  • $139,000 to update the Skagit County Morgue.
  • $4.9 million to design and construct a traditional Coast Salish-style longhouse for educational and cultural purposes at Western Washington University.
  • $51 million for design and construction for a new Engineering and Computer Science building at Western Washington University.

The team has also contributed to regional and statewide efforts including:

  • Creating a new Rural Energy Innovation Fund
  • Climate Resilience and Mitigation Funds
  • Grant and Funding programs for Public Works Development Account
  • Working Family Tax Credit
  • Capital Gains Tax
  • Public Safety Reform and Additional Training Programs

Press releases about the operating budget, transportation budget, and capital budget can be found here.

The 40th district includes the Southwest portion of Whatcom County including part of Bellingham, Northwest Skagit County including Anacortes and parts of Burlington and Mount Vernon, and all of the San Juan Islands.