Legislative update: Budgets that put people first

This week, the House introduced all three budget proposals—operating, capital budget and transportation.

As chair of the House Capital Budget Committee, I’d like to tell you a little about our proposed construction budget, along with some related details in the operating budget.

My seatmate, Rep. Mike Chapman, serves on the Transportation Committee and will give you an update on that budget.

Construction budget makes massive investment in housing

There are families struggling throughout out state—not just in Seattle, Tacoma and Spokane. You see homeless veterans, families and kids all over, including here in the 24th District.

The construction budget I introducedv puts $100 million toward housing to get people off the street and into permanent housing. Right now, the lack of permanent housing is a bottleneck, a crimp in the system. My budget proposal invests 80 percent of the funding on permanent housing, with the other 20 percent aimed at immediate shelter and relief.

Aside from housing, there’s roughly $89 million in non-housing construction projects, including $13.2 million to retrofit public schools most at-risk during an earthquake and $7 million for early learning facilities.

The third piece of my construction proposal is more than $38 million for toxic cleanup and environmental work, with more than 30 cleanup and stormwater projects.

The next step is for us to negotiate with the Senate on a final capital budget.

I’m proud that this budget would put people to work here in the 24th District, and throughout the great state of Washington, during the construction of all these projects.

Operating budget: early learning, child care and health care

The operating budget works hand-in-glove with the capital budget when it comes to housing, with funding for services meant to prevent people from going homeless and to get people back on their feet.

  • $75 million for Permanent Supportive Housing operations and maintenance ($15 million a year over the next five years)
  • $20 million for Housing and Essential Needs program
  • $25 million for the Consolidated Homelessness Grants
  • $5 million pilot project for people with extremely low-income/disabilities in high-cost counties

The operating budget also includes funding for early learning and child care, which are particular needs out here in the 24th District.

  • $56 million to boost the Working Connections Child Care rates to the 75th percentile
  • $9.7 million to increase the per slot rate 7 percent for ECEAP
  • $7.2 million for child care provider scholarships
  • $5 million to reduce Working Connections Child Care co-pays

As for health care, there’s great news in the House operating budget when it comes to Medicaid rates for primary care doctors and providers, with $14.5 million to increase rates. There’s also $34 million for rural health clinics, $32 million for foundational public health and $5 million to fight the corona virus.

Next steps

capitol dome, olympia

There are less than three weeks left in the 2020 session. Everything is moving fast and about to move faster.

I appreciate all of your emails, phone calls and letters. Please continue to keep in touch and I’ll try to update you whenever possible. Thank you again for taking the time to be informed and involved in your democracy!