Following today’s Senate vote to pass the 2016 supplemental Capital budget, Sen. Karen Keiser, D-Kent, released the following statement:
“I am pleased that the Capital budget addresses two areas of critical need facing Washington in 2016 by providing funding to build more classrooms and to assist our state mental health services.
“We made significant investments in both of these areas that I am confident will strengthen both mental health services and education access for students in the future.
“However, I fear that by continuing to sweep money out of both the Model Toxics Control Account (MTCA) and the Public Works Trust Fund, we are leaving our state vulnerable to serious consequences if the pattern continues.
“The truth is, MTCA has been decimated as its primary revenue source is tied to the price of petroleum products which have decreased by nearly half over the last 24 months. I believe we need to restore stability to the MTCA revenue stream and we must establish predictability for the management of these complex, multi-year environmental cleanup projects.
“Perhaps even worse is that the funding for one of our most successful infrastructure loan programs over the last 30 years has been taken away by the Operating budget makers and used for other programs that have nothing to do with fixing our local systems. The Public Works Trust Fund is now an empty bucket when the need for such a program is growing tremendously.
“We have failing sewer systems that leak e-coli bacteria, water systems that have to issue orders to boil water before consumption and shutdown local businesses and restaurants for days at a time.
“Although I am encouraged by the progress we’ve made this session, I am eager to continue the work necessary to restore these programs to their full capacity. Capital investments make our communities stronger and I thank my colleagues for their continued efforts as we move forward.”