49th Legislative District Update: SPECIAL BUDGETS EDITION
Washington’s Three Budgets
Last 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 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.
We passed the transportation and the operating budgets on Friday and will bring the capital budget to the Floor for a vote this week.
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 for more information.
- 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.
- The Workforce Education Investment expands access to the Washington College Grant and career pathways programs, as well as apprenticeships. It also increases capacity for high-demand programs such as engineering and nursing.
- 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, and expanding rural broadband.
Click the image below to watch a short video highlighting the “Putting People First” budget proposal.
To fund these needed investments, House Democrats are proposing an Extraordinary Profits Tax (EPT) and a Progressive Real Estate Excise Tax (REET).
- The Extraordinary Profits Tax would apply to the sale of stocks and bonds and other high valued assets where the profits are over $100,000 for a single filer or $200,000 for joint filers. This tax would not apply to retirement accounts, sales of single-family homes, sales of livestock, sales of agricultural and timberlands, or sales of certain qualifying small businesses. So who would pay this tax? Out of the 3.65 million tax filers in our state, fewer than 14,000 would pay this tax.
- The progressive REET structure would result in about 80 percent of Washingtonians paying fewer taxes on the sale of their homes, while 18 percent would see no change and 2 percent would pay a higher rate. In other words, only those selling property valued over $1.5 million would see a tax increase.
Capital Budget Highlights
The House Democratic Capital Budget proposal 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; $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 our state is facing, while also putting people to work all over Washington.
There are $11 million in new appropriations for projects in the 49th district, including:
- Evergreen High School Health Center: Funding for local and community projects throughout Washington state.
- SeaMar Dental Capacity Grants – Vancouver Dental: This project will increase access to dental services for an additional 4,200 undeserved, low income, uninsured, and Medicaid individuals in the 49th district.
- Tenny Creek Assisted Living: Funding for affordable housing units to serve vulnerable populations, including individuals with chronic mental illness who need supportive housing and case management services, homeless families, youth, veterans, farmworkers, seniors, and individuals with special needs. This project also includes funding to preserve aging affordable housing units to continue to serve low-income populations.
Go to the capital projects list by district interactive page for more information. Be sure to select the “House Chair” version, choose the 49th 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 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.
The $44.4 million allotted for projects that are in or go through the 49th district will continue funding existing projects and start some new ones. Here are a few highlights:
- I-5 Columbia River Bridge: This budget, as well as the Governor’s budget, support the hard work of the SW Washington delegation to resume the effort to replace the aging I-5 bridge. In prior years, legislation consolidated over 12 years of work and dollars spent on public outreach, design, analysis and development already done. This budget, along with passage of HB 1994 designating the bridge replacement a project of statewide significance, move our efforts forward with funds to reopen a local office and begin work on a transparent public process. This will allow us to move forward with Oregon to achieve agreement on a process and a design that will replace the bridge. In the years since the last effort stopped, traffic and demand have intensified. Businesses, labor, commuters and west coast shipping needs require a solution. Transportation infrastructure is essential to jobs, economic growth and the health of the region.
- Garrison Road Sidewalk Infill: The project will construct 1200 feet of sidewalk along the east side of Garrison Road between Mill Plain Blvd and NE 12th Street resulting in a continuous sidewalk along this segment of the roadway. Existing curb ramps will be upgraded to current ADA standards and an enhanced pedestrian crossing will be installed to provide access to David Douglas Park.
- SR 501/I-5 to Port of Vancouver: This project will reconstruct the roadway to remove high points, which prevent movement of freight vehicles with limited ground clearance. It will also reconstruct traffic signals to increase clearance, add pedestrian crosswalks, address ADA requirements and provide bicycle safety enhancements.
- SR 14/I-205 to SE 164th Ave – Auxiliary Lanes: This segment of SR 14 between I-205 and SE 164th Avenue is experiencing congestion due to high volume traffic. Constructing auxiliary lanes both directions between the interchanges and modifying the I-205 ramps to SR 14 will reduce delays and improve safety.
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 49th District from the drop-down menu, and then click “View Report.”
Thank you for reading our update on the proposed House budgets. If you need more information or if you have questions, please contact our offices anytime.
Rep. Monica Stonier Rep. Sharon Wylie