Legislative Update: Town Hall Recap & State Proposed Budgets

Dear friends and neighbors,

With two and a half weeks until the legislative session is scheduled to end, we are working to reconcile differences between the House and Senate proposed Operating Budget, Capital (Construction) Budget, and Transportation budget. I am proud that these budgets will be funded in part by the capital gains tax, which the Supreme Court affirmed as constitutional in a 7-2 vote. This is a giant step forward in reforming our upside-down tax structure, funding critical gaps in our educational system and expanding access to childcare and early learning.

In this issue, I’ll recap my virtual town hall with Rep. Senn last month, discuss the state budget proposals, and share a video update. I hope you will find it useful!

Virtual Town Hall Recap

Thank you for virtually visiting Rep. Senn and I for our first town hall of 2023. I was excited to see so many people come share their thoughts and questions with us! For those who were unable to attend or experience technical difficulties, the event can be viewed here.

Budget Update

In Washington, the legislature funds key programs and services that individuals and families rely on through the Operating BudgetCapital Budget, and Transportation budget. I am proud to share the following historic investments:

Targeted Equity Investments: Racial equity is one of the House Democratic Caucus’s top priorities, these considerations are woven throughout the Resilient Washington budget. Listed below are a few highlighted examples of specific investments in communities of color who have historically been excluded from access and opportunity.

This includes $200 million for the Community Reinvestment Account, $73 million for refugee support and education, $99 million to provide health care for undocumented adults (children are already covered) and $25 million to fund Cascade Care for low-income Medicaid ineligible individuals.

Housing Security: The housing affordability and security crisis is affecting every city and county in Washington. Residents in eastern and western Washington alike face a housing shortage, skyrocketing rents, and unstable living conditions. When evicted, tenants often lack the resources for legal representation. I am proud of the following investments to stabilize housing and protect tenants:

Child Care Aware WA Play & Learn: This program is critical to ensuring that every child has access to high quality childcare and early learning programs. As the only statewide childcare resource and referral program in Washington, it is critical to continue funding high quality, racially equitable early care, and education opportunities. I am proud to have worked with my colleagues in securing $800,000 in funding for this program this year.

Video Update

Washington needs to diversify its housing options to adequately address the housing shortage. We are working to expand housing options near transit hubs to include familiar options like accessory dwelling units (ADUs), duplexes and triplexes. This is incredibly important to help us build our way out of the housing crisis. Click here or on the image above to learn more on the work being done to on this issue.

Hospitality Grants

This year, the Legislature strategically invested in small businesses struggling in the wake of the pandemic. One of these investments is a new hospitality grant from the Department of Commerce. This program will award financial relief to eligible restaurants, hotels, motels, and other hospitality businesses in Washington. Those grants are now open, so apply today! Head to wahospitalitygrants.com to see if you’re eligible.

Share Your Thoughts with Me

If you come down to Olympia, please schedule a time for us to meet so you can share your concerns with me. I am also happy to meet remotely if you are not quite comfortable in a public setting or simply don’t have time to make it to Olympia. My priority is hearing from you however you are most comfortable, whether remotely or in person.

If you have comments, questions, or ideas, please contact my office. I hope to hear from you soon!

In service,

State Representative My-Linh Thai

41st Legislative District