– The Legislature passed a 2019-21 operating budget plan and revenue
plan on Sunday, making critical investments in behavioral health, affordable
housing, education, and the environment.
is a responsible and optimistic budget that includes broad investments to meet
critical needs across our state. We are transforming our behavioral health
system and making historic investments in education, which is the bedrock of
our communities,” said Sen. Christine Rolfes, D-Bainbridge Island,
chair of the Senate Ways and Means Committee.
is what putting people first looks like,” said Rep. Timm Ormsby, D-Spokane, chair of the
House Appropriations Committee. “We’re making significant investments in
special education and behavioral health, helping families stay in their homes
and out of poverty, and expanding college access and opportunity to more
families across Washington.”
the $52.4 billion two-year operating budget include:
Behavioral Health: The two-year budget will make significant investments in
continued efforts to reform and improve the state behavioral health system.
- $47 million to expand community behavioral health beds
- $92 million in this biennium to
ensure the stability of state
hospitals and the safety of patients and staff.
- $74 million in this biennium to
comply with the Trueblood
Affordable Housing: In addition to the state capital budget, the
state operating budget makes key investments in housing programs and services.
- $15 million focused on permanent supportive housing and youth homelessness.
- $14.5 million for the Housing and Essential Needs
Program, which helps people with disabilities who are
struggling to find or maintain housing.
Education: This budget fulfills the bipartisan promise made by the
Legislature to fund health
care coverage for school employees through the School
Employee Benefits Board (SEBB) program. This investment will cost $328 million
in this budget and $837 million over four years.
- $155 million for
education funding ($294 million over four years).
- $61 million for
assistance for areas with low property values.
- $12 million for paraeducator training.
- $2.5 million additional funding
mental health and safety.
Workforce Education Investment: Creates a new Washington
College Grant to make public college tuition-free in Washington state for
families earning less than $50,000 per year, with partial scholarships for
families up to state’s median income, and significantly invests in community
addresses demand through targeted investments by bringing together students,
parents, higher education institutions, workers, and businesses. To pay for the
investments, the Legislature increased B&O rates on businesses that rely on
a highly-educated workforce.
- Expands access to the
Washington College Grant (formerly the State Need Grant).
- Makes career pathways a
priority by expanding programs that guide students through community and
technical colleges or apprenticeships and increases counseling.
- Increases capacity at the
public community and technical colleges and four-year institutions for
high-demand programs, such as computer science, engineering, nursing, and
other high-demand fields.
- $35 million to expand Early Childhood Education and
Assistance Program (ECEAP) slots and rate increases.
- $62 million for rate increases
residential services providers (long-term and
developmental disabilities care).
- $31 million to improve habitat
- $9 million to eliminate the
backlog in testing
sexual assault kits.
- $24 million in state general
funds to increase our wildfire
response and address natural disasters.
- $4.5 million to expand rural broadband.
the state economy has resulted in additional revenue over the current two-year
budget, existing expenses have outpaced that revenue growth. The state faces an
additional $5.8 billion in expenses over the last two-year budget,
most of which ($3.9 billion) comes from the bipartisan education funding
agreement reached in 2017.
state’s revenue growth over that same time was $4.5 billion. Therefore new
revenue was needed to make critical investments in behavioral health, housing,
higher education, and the environment.
is added by changing the Real Estate Excise Tax (REET) rates for property sales
over $1.5 million. Washington’s current REET rate is a flat rate regardless of
the value of the transaction.
The Progressive Real Estate Excise Tax proposal
would result in more than 80% of real estate sellers receiving a tax cut while
another 18% would see no change in the rate. The remaining sellers, those
selling real estate valued at $1.5 million or higher, would see a rate
budget includes a business and occupations tax increase on the very largest and
most profitable global banks. Other revenue includes an increase in the B&O
rate for firms that provide international investments services.