House Democrats Release Supplementary Budget Proposal to Move Washington Beyond Pandemic – The State of Reform

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The House Democratic budget framers unveiled their $65 billion supplemental operating budget proposal today at a noon press conference, highlighting the ongoing needs of families in Washington amplified by the pandemic. The proposal, which will be available for public comment in the House Appropriations Committee later today, addresses a wide variety of challenges facing the state.

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The basic premise of the House proposal is to address obstacles that existed before the pandemic but have been exasperated since 2020. Building on last year’s “Washington Stimulus Budget,” we focus on the highest support for recovery with investments in schools, behavioral health, housing and access to childcare. The Supplementary Estimates also emphasize the recovery of businesses and the economy where we know it is needed and is working. Schools are not only restored through stabilization, but improved through the inclusion of funding for HB 1664 to put more nurses, social workers, psychologists and counselors in schools and meet the growing mental health needs of students. Funding is also provided for food aid, inflation control and transportation needs.

Continuing to put Washington residents first, the supplementary budget proposal adds $282 million to the state’s child care and social welfare systems, adding funding to child care providers Working Connections , expanding the Early Childhood Learning and Education Program (ECEAP) slots and meeting funding needs for foster care programs. Lack of childcare is often cited as a reason for a parent, usually women, to leave the workforce and dramatically reduce family income, as well as for businesses trying to retain valuable employees.

Business resumption is another key part of this proposal, with more than $200 million invested in hospitality businesses, expanded support for arts, heritage and cultural organizations, funding for the Cinema Assistance Program , the creation of a small business innovation and competitiveness fund and the small business disaster. recovery.

To further stimulate the economy, support local small businesses and give families a break, the proposal includes HB 2018the Labor Day weekend sales and use tax exemption for purchases under $1,000.

Citing the need to increase access to care for communities, budget framers added $332 million to behavioral health programs, targeting workforce recruitment and retention. Ensuring providers can pay employees a fair wage is a tool the state can use to ensure access to services, which means more people can stay healthy and receive specialist care when mental health or addiction crisis.

House budget framers have committed to a $2 billion transfer from the general fund to help pay for Move Ahead WA, the transformative transportation program announced earlier this month. An additional transfer of $500 million to the capital budget will fund housing construction programs to address the crisis of homelessness and housing insecurity, creating jobs in the construction sector.

The proposal is responsible and leaves more than $3.6 billion in reserves between various accounts over the next four years. The Appropriations Committee will hear the budget this afternoon starting at 3:30 p.m. Full details of the proposal can be viewed at LEAP website here.

A vote on the budget by the Plenary Assembly is expected this Saturday, February 26.

The 2022 session is scheduled to end on March 10, 2022.

This press release was provided by the Washington House Democrats.

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