The Senate’s capital-budget chair said the $87 million supplemental capital-budget proposal released today focuses squarely on supporting new classrooms, providing temporary mental-health housing and addressing an environmental-cleanup emergency, all within available revenue.
“This is a true supplemental budget, not a laundry list of new projects. The supplemental is meant to be a vehicle for minor technical corrections or to address changes in previously approved projects. I insisted that we stick to those principles and the result is a realistic, sustainable capital budget that doesn’t tap the state’s rainy-day fund,” said Sen. Jim Honeyford.
Nearly 65 percent of the proposed budget is devoted to bolstering K-12 education with $38 million going toward expanding the K-3 class-size reduction pilot program and another $17 million for the school construction-assistance account.
“Education funding is like a giant puzzle that the entire Legislature is working to solve. This is the brick-and-mortar piece that is critical to the whole picture,” said Honeyford, R-Sunnyside.
In response to the state’s mental health crisis, the proposed budget directs $20.8 million toward providing additional mental-health beds and temporary housing for those in treatment. It will also help to offset a decline in the Model Toxic Control Act account so that previously approved toxic-cleanup projects may move forward.
“This is a sensible proposal that is exactly what the people of Washington expect of budget writers in Olympia — and something they deserve to see more often. This budget doesn’t write any checks we can’t cash while addressing the most dire needs of our state,” said Honeyford.
A public hearing is scheduled for 3:30 p.m. today in the Senate Ways and Means Committee.