House budget chair Rep. Timm Ormsby’s statement on Governor Inslee’s operating budget proposal

OLYMPIA – Rep. Timm Ormsby (D-Spokane), chair of the House Appropriations Committee, released the following statement regarding Governor Inslee’s operating budget proposal released today:

“I want to start by thanking the governor for this thoughtful proposal that offers a step forward on many priorities of House Democrats. As our state has grappled with the pandemic, an uneven economic recovery and the basic needs for struggling families have been our top concerns. Now, we have a starting point for addressing needs of local communities and investing taxpayer dollars where it is needed most in a responsible and sustainable way.

“Recent reports have highlighted the serious funding needs and reform in education, particularly special education. This budget offers an opportunity to continue that work. Additionally, the investments in our workforce through higher education funding and rate increases will help to ensure we keep and grow staffing levels in our behavioral health and health care delivery systems. As the state continues to bolster community behavioral health responses, we must also grow our capacity to serve those in need through our behavioral health, long term care, and developmental disabilities communities.

“The governor’s proposal has a strong commitment to investing Climate Commitment Act dollars into real, meaningful action that addresses climate change. These funds are crucial to the work we must do to secure and protect the future of this planet and every step forward we take is a worthy investment. Lack of action is not an option, and we must maintain our commitment to future generations.

“Washington state’s housing and homelessness crisis must continue to be a priority for the Legislature. Our budget decisions will consider the governor’s proposed investments and policy changes that will address the needs of our growing state.

“Finally, by building off this proposal the Legislature can address the needs of overburdened communities across Washington. Those communities, predominantly communities of color, have faced unfair effects that have caused disparities in health care and public health. We see those same effects impacting income, housing, homeownership, and education funding. Those policy choices resulted in historic inequities and policies that have held back and marginalized too many in Washington state. We can and must do better.

“To pass a responsible budget, we must acknowledge that volatile risks are still unresolved and require smart investments and thoughtful leadership. We look forward to passing a biennial budget that addresses these needs and more in the upcoming legislative session.”