Making investments in our state
Two weeks ago, House Democrats laid out their operating budget and revenue plan for the next two years. The plan is a strong reflection of our values and our vision for a future that puts people first. The budget makes additional investments in critical areas of the state budget such as behavioral health, affordable housing, education, environment, and a new Workforce Education Investment.
You can read an overview of the entire budget proposal, but I wanted to highlight the following items that many of you have reached out about this session:
- $206 million for behavioral health investments, including expanding community behavioral health capacity and services;
- $643 million for K-12 schools, including investments in special education, student health and safety, and school employee health care coverage;
- $119 million to expand access and affordability of early childhood education and childcare, and improve child welfare services;
- $24 million to improve habitat and protect orcas; and
- $76 million, in addition to the $155 million in the state capital budget, to invest inaffordable housing and homelessness services.
While the state economy has resulted in additional revenue over the current two-year budget, existing expenses have outpaced that revenue growth. The state has an additional$5.8 billion of expenses over the last two-year budget, most of which ($3.9 billion) comes from the bipartisan education funding agreement reached in 2017. In that time frame, the state’s revenue growth was $4.5 billion. Therefore, new revenue sources are needed to make these critical investments in behavioral health, education, housing, and the environment.