House Democrats release supplemental budget proposal focused on Washington’s families and future

OLYMPIA – House democratic budget writers rolled out their supplemental operating budget proposal for the 2023-2025 biennium today. The $71 Billion supplemental budget makes adjustments to the operating budget passed last year, and continues to focus on strengthening Washington families.

“House Democrats are focused on affordable child care for working parents; strong behavioral health services and supports including for our youth; access to food for all, especially children and seniors; and clean air, clean water and the transition to clean energy. We are focused on investing in our state’s future,” said House Majority Leader Joe Fitzgibbon (D – West Seattle).

This budget takes advantage of Washington’s strong economy and reinvests that growth. “Luckily Washington’s economy is so strong that we can once again provide even more investments to our working families, aging seniors and newly arriving immigrants” said Rep. Timm Ormsby (D – Spokane), chair of the Appropriations Committee. “When we invest in Washingtonians they invest back in their communities and that’s what makes our economy strong.”

Below are some highlights of the 2024 supplemental operating budget:

Targeted Equity Investments: Equity, and specifically racial equity, is one of the House Democratic Caucus’s top priorities. It is woven throughout the proposed budget, but some highlighted examples are listed below. These investments help to mitigate the historic and continuing exclusion of communities of color and other marginalized communities. This includes:

  • Low and moderate-income clean energy assistance: $150 million
  • Support for immigrants, refugees, asylees, and people who are undocumented: $35 million
  • Health care for uninsured adults: $28 million
  • Recognizing and supporting tribal sovereignty in the budget: $34 million
  • Housing vulnerable populations, tenants’ rights, and homeownership support: $26 million

Cradle to Career: “We’ve heard from our school districts that the decline in enrollment and cost inflation are straining their budgets. This budget addresses those concerns. It also funds the significant increases in enrollment for the Washington College Grant, which saw a bump from increased enrollment in our community and technical colleges” said Rep. Steve Bergquist (D – Renton). We also invest in:

  • Increased provider rates and reimbursements including basic foster care and ECEAP – $26 million
  • Staffing at Echo Glen for education, behavioral health supports, and increased security – $22 million
  • Increased childcare slots, expanded eligibility and technical assistance – $13 million
  • Special education, including increasing the cap to 17.25% – $35 million
  • Materials, supplies, & operating costs – $44 million
  • Existing student transportation – $77 million
  • UW Hospital Support – $50 million
  • Expansion of workforce and training – $73 million

Housing, Human Services, and Poverty Reduction: “A core value that we hold is that health and prosperity is directly tied to healthy nutritious food, safe and secure housing, clean water, and clean air to breathe” said Rep. Mia Gregerson (D – SeaTac). This whole-picture funding includes:

  • Low and moderate–income clean energy assistance – $150 million (Climate Commitment Act)
  • Increased need for local homeless services – $40 million
  • Support to existing local housing programs to backfill the document recording fee – $31 million
  • Housing vulnerable populations, supporting tenants’ rights and homeownership – $26 million
  • Food assistance for seniors, summer EBT for kids, and food banks – $73 million
  • Additional support for refugees, asylees and newly arriving individuals – $35 million

Opioid/Fentanyl Crisis Response: “Our family, friends, coworkers, neighbors, and loved ones–they are the ones whose lives are torn apart by addiction and accidental drug misuse,” said Rep. Nicole Macri (D – Seattle). “Fentanyl has taken too many Washingtonians and we will confront this epidemic to save lives, both through new policy, and by investing $200 million in opioid and substance use disorder response and prevention”. We know that our opioid/fentanyl crisis response is a critical part of a strong public health infrastructure, so we also added investments in:

  • Increased access to opioid use disorder treatment, programs, and supplies – $151 million
  • Public health awareness, outreach, and data dashboards – $13 million
  • Outreach and support for Tribes – $6 million

Public Health, Behavioral Health, and Long-Term Care, and Developmental Disabilities:

  • Increased state inpatient behavioral health capacity – $210 million
  • Increased rates for long–term civil commitments in the community – $47 million
  • Behavioral health personal care for those with exceptional needs – $34 million
  • Continues the Medicaid Transformation Project to improve health care outcomes – $270 million
  • Funding for health equity for uninsured adults – $28 million
  • 5% assisted living rate increase – $31 million
  • 3% rate increase for supported living providers – $20 million
  • Provider rates & reimbursements, including specialty dementia, adult day and SNF – $8 million
  • New beds for youth with complex I/DD and BH needs – $15 million

Climate Commitment Act and Natural Resources: “These investments reduce dangerous greenhouse gas emissions in our state and fight climate change,” said Fitzgibbon. “They invest in improving air quality, in fighting wildfires, in recovering salmon habitat, and supporting our farms and farmers.” Some highlights for the Climate Commitment Act funds and natural resources sector include:

  • Clean energy and climate programs – $63 million (CCA)
  • Payments to exempt agricultural fuel users – $30 million (CCA)
  • Forest health & wildfire protection –$72 million
  • Water quality & availability – $22 million
  • Salmon production, habitat & recovery – $21 million

The budget writers also highlighted the devastating impacts that proposed initiatives would have on the budget.

“Climate Commitment Act (CCA) investments support Washingtonians’ well-being in multiple ways: cleaning up the air we breathe, relieving hunger for families facing food insecurity, fighting devastating wildfires across the state, and recovering endangered salmon populations,” said Fitzgibbon. “All of these are areas where the CCA enables us to deepen our investments and accelerate our progress. Rolling back that progress would harm Washington’s families, communities, environment, and economy.”

Bergquist also spoke to the impact of repealing the capital gains excise tax, paid by only 3,354 people in all of Washington state during 2023. “We passed the capital gains excise tax so we could fund the Fair Start for Kids Act, which will provide universal access to our Early Childhood Education and Assistance program for all those that qualify by 2027.”

“ECEAP, as well as our Transition to Kindergarten program, is at risk with the capital gains initiative. No capital gains means less funding for child care and early learning programs. If the initiative becomes law, that funding goes away and child care and early learning centers will close. We’ll also see a significant blow to our public schools, which are already having difficulties due to declining enrollment. Without capital gains funds, the state will not have the resources to help back-stop our schools with those non-basic education costs. That will likely force school districts to close more schools, fill larger class sizes, and hire fewer teachers. That is what is at risk here.”

For more information:  

House Democratic Caucus 2024 Supplemental Operating Budget proposal news conference available on TVW here.

Budget details from the House Office of Program Research available at

Public Hearing on the House budget proposal in the Appropriations Committee (Monday, February 19, 4PM) available on TVW here.