Thank you so much to everyone who was able to join us for our town hall meeting last Saturday. Click here to see pictures and an article from the Kirkland Reporter about the event. If you weren’t able to attend, we hope you can join us for a telephone town hall this coming Tuesday evening.
Many calls will go out to landlines in our district at 6 pm inviting constituents to stay on the line and ask us questions by pressing *3. If you don’t get the call, you can still participate by dialing the number below and entering the code, or by going to our Vekeo site and signing up to stream the call live.
Washington’s three budgets
This past Monday, House Democrats rolled out the proposed operating, capital and transportation budgets, as well as a revenue plan. These budgets reflect our values and our vision for a future that puts people first.
The capital budget, sometimes called the construction budget, is how the state invests in buildings and other long-term assets. The transportation budget is how things like roads, ferries, and bridges are built and maintained, and it also funds our state patrol. Finally, the operating budget is the largest of the three and pays for everything else, including behavioral health, education, social services and many other necessary services.
The Senate released its version of the budgets this morning. Next, both House and Senate will have to approve their respective budgets and send them over to the other chamber. That’s when we’ll start negotiations on the differences, until we reach an agreement and send three budgets we can all live with to the governor’s desk.
Operating Budget Highlights
We want to give you some of the highlights in the $52.6 billion 2019-2021 budget, but you can also take a look at the budget documents here.
- Significant investments in continued efforts to fix the state behavioral health system, including expanding community behavioral health beds and services.
- Investments in housing programs and services for permanent supportive housing, youth homelessness, and the Housing and Essential Needs Program.
- Educational investments include fulfilling the promise to fund health care coverage for school employees, funding for special education, levy assistance for areas with low-property values, and student mental health and safety.
- Other investments include expanding the Early Childhood Education and Assistance Program slots; eliminating the backlog in testing sexual assault kits; improving salmon habitat and protecting Orcas; increasing our wildfire response and addressing natural disasters.
Click or tap the image below to watch a short video highlighting the “Putting People First” budget proposal.
Washington has a tax problem. Too many powerful special interests have carved out a place in our tax code, keeping our state from adequately investing in working families.
We have an upside-down tax code that forces the poorest among us pay the largest share of their wages in sales tax, people are seeing their property taxes skyrocket, and businesses are cutting deep into their margins to pay their tax bills. When the legislature needs to invest in K-12 education, financial aid for college students, or high quality pre-kindergarten, the burden falls on the middle class and the elderly.
We are proposing a fair way to help correct that imbalance:
Extraordinary Profits Tax – A targeted 9.9 percent excise tax that only applies to the sale of very high value assets like stocks and bonds. Every sale or transfer under $200,000 for couples and $100,000 for single-filers will be TOTALLY exempt. Retirement accounts; single-family, duplex, and triplex homes; most agricultural and farm-related sales; and certain qualifying small businesses are also 100 percent exempt.
Progressive Real Estate Excise Tax –Currently, all Washington property sellers pay the same 1.28 percent flat tax rate. We propose reducing that rate for 80 percent of home sellers to .9 percent, with a graduated increase for the most expensive homes. The adjustment would top out at 3 percent for homes over $7 million.
Even in high property value areas like the 48th District, most homeowners will NOT see changes in their home sale tax rate.
Workforce Education Investment – Washington jobs should go to qualified Washington workers. This means students need expanded access to post-high school opportunities so they can fill the jobs of the future. Business and higher education leaders such as Microsoft and UW understand the need for a skilled workforce and want to better fund higher education, here’s their creative plan to do so.
Capital Budget Highlights
The House Democratic Capital Budget proposal released on Monday totals $4.6 billion with $3.1 billion in projects funded with bond revenue. It makes large investments in every corner of the state, such as $1.1 billion for public schools, which includes $60 million for rural and distressed schools; $927 million for public colleges and universities; $30 million for rural broadband internet access; $155 million for affordable housing; $463 million to help salmon and orcas; and $117 million for community behavioral health facilities. These projects will help address many of the pressing issues we are facing, while also putting people to work all over Washington.
There are $9.2 million in new appropriations for projects in the 48th district:
- Building for the Arts: KidsQuest Children’s Museum
- Local and Community Projects: Downtown Park Gateway (Bellevue)
- Washington Military Minor Works Program:
– Door Upgrade-Buckley, Kent, Redmond RC
– Modular Vaults Installation-Redmond Site
Go to the capital projects list by district interactive page for more information. Be sure to select the “House Chair” version, choose the 48th District from the drop-down menu, and then click “View Report.”
Transportation Budget Highlights
The $10 billion transportation budget proposed by House Democrats makes investments in each part of the state to get people where they need to be and get goods shipped around the world. It includes major funding to remove fish-barriers on state roads as part of the broader solution to helping our struggling orca population. We passed the transportation budget out of the House today on a 90-5 vote. Now it heads to the Senate.
The $575.7 million allotted for projects that are in or go through the 48th district will continue funding existing projects and start some new ones. Here are a few highlights:
- Kirkland Transit-Oriented Development Project: Funding for a development pilot project to demonstrate how appropriate department properties may be used to provide multiple public benefits such as affordable and market rate housing, commercial development and institutional facilities in addition to transportation.
- Medina Noise Abatement Study: Funding for a pilot project and study to control the noise on the 5SR 520 bridge.
- 520/124th Interchange: Funding for preliminary engineering of a project to help reduce congestion and encourage economic growth. It will relieve pressure on the interchange, enhance access to and between major employment centers, and enable stronger connection of mass transit, education and job centers.
- Summer ORCA cards: Expanded pilot program to provide ORCA cards in summer to high school students in the Highline, Tukwila and Lake Washington school districts, who are eligible for free and reduced-price lunches and have jobs or other responsibilities during the schools districts’ summer breaks.
- Treehouse to Help Foster Youth: Driver’s license support to a larger population of foster youth. Support services include reimbursement of driver’s license issuance costs, fees for driver training education, and motor vehicle liability insurance costs.
- Community Facilities District Improvements (Redmond): Pedestrian improvement projects on SR 520 corridor in Redmond vicinity. Work includes separating a trail at 51st., reconfiguring eastbound ramps at 40th and 51st and pedestrian safety improvements on 3 interchange ramps.
- Redmond Connector: The RCC is a regional, hard surface, multimodal trail that will provide a key regional link from Redmond to Sammamish and Kirkland, and connect more than 60 miles of King County regional trails.
For more information on projects in our area, check out the transportation project lists by district interactive page. Be sure to select the “HTC Chair Proposed” version, choose the 48th District from the drop-down menu, and then click “View Report.”
Thank you for reading our newsletter. Be sure to contact our offices with your questions, concerns or feedback.
Rep. Vandana Slatter Rep. Amy Walen