Dear friends and neighbors,

We’ve got such an exciting update for you! We’re over two thirds of the way through session and we’ve sent some of our community’s priorities over to the House (where they’ll continue their journey to their final stop – the governor’s desk!), and the House and Senate have unveiled our Move Ahead Washington Transportation package, our operating budget, and our capital construction budget.

This means that the investments we have championed together, not only for our neighbors here in LD 47 but also throughout the state, are on their way. Let’s take a look at what this all means for our community!

The Washington State Senate convenes for floor debate, February 14, 2022. Senator Mona Das speaks with Senator June Robinson, vice chair of the Senate Ways & Means committee.

UP FIRST: MY PRIME-SPONSORED BILLS!

I am thrilled to report that 4 of our bills were voted off the Senate floor!

  • SB 5703 – the Toxics-free Cosmetics Act: banning the use of certain toxic chemicals in cosmetic products! Do you or does someone you love use cosmetics? Deodorant? Shampoo? This bill will ensure that the products for sale in Washington state don’t use chemicals that are dangerous and toxic to us as consumers or to our planet down the road.
  • SB 5713 – a tax exemption for affordable, limited-equity cooperative housing! This bill will provide a property tax for a limited equity cooperative. The property tax exemption would be provided to low-income households and reduce the cost on working families, and is another tool to address the housing crisis and the need for more affordable housing.
  • SB 5823 – another tool to address the housing crisis and address the flaws in our tax code! This bill ensures that the tax burden doesn’t fall disproportionately on low income folks and gives local governments the tools to focus on local infrastructure needs for their own communities.
  • SB 5832 – a bill to build on last year’s work to expand and strengthen the Multifamily Tax Exemption! This year’s bill keeps up that momentum and promotes housing affordability, helps families build equity, and increases affordable housing stock.

NEXT LET’S TALK ABOUT MOVE AHEAD WA!

The transportation package is a funding proposal that addresses long-standing infrastructure needs throughout our state. Here are a few highlights about how this proposal will impact us here in LD 47:

  • $639,882,000 for SR 18 Widening from Issaquah Hobart Road to Raging River Road
  • $433,914,000 for SR 167/SR 509 Puget Sound Gateway funding
  • $20,600,000 to complete the 224th Corridor
  • $10,000,000 for pedestrian safety and Meet Me on Meeker Multimodal Improvements
  • $8,000,000 for a King County Metro RapidRide Line in Auburn
  • $380,000,000 for I-405/SR 167 Corridor Improvements
  • $507,500,000 for King County Metro transit access distribution

The Washington State Senate convenes for floor debate, February 14, 2022. Senator Mona Das speaks to one of her bills on the Senate floor.

AND LAST BUT NOT LEAST: THE PROPOSED OPERATING & CAPITAL BUDGET HIGHLIGHTS!

The House and the Senate are still in negotiations, but for now, each chamber has released their operating budget and capital construction budget proposals – and they’re exciting! I will continue to cheerlead for our community’s priorities and champion the investments in our health, safety, and well-being that we all deserve. Here are some highlights about both budget proposals!

Operating budget highlights:

  • $400 million for seismic upgrades to keep our communities safe in case of earthquakes
  • $350 million for Paid Family Leave
  • $345 million to stabilize school districts that experienced enrollment declines
  • $209 million for various salmon recovery projects across the state, including the Duckabush estuary restoration project
  • $95 million to increase rates for Working Connections Child Care, Behavioral Rehabilitation Services, Child Visitation, and Combined In-Home Services

Capital budget highlights:

  • $472 million to fund grants and loans to invest in affordable housing, including $376 million for rapid housing and crisis stabilization services
  • $327 million to improve the state’s environmental health, including water quality, recreation, and conservation
  • $120 million to bolster the expansion of broadband internet access to rural and underserved areas throughout the state
  • $319,000 for the Pipe Lake Water Quality Improvement Project in Covington
  • $50,000 for the Open Doors for Multicultural Families Project in Kent

I am so proud of our neighbors (like you!) who raised the importance of these projects and worked hard alongside me to champion them for inclusion in our budget this year. All in all, I’m hopeful about what all of these investments – operating, capital, and transportation – mean for our state.

As a reminder, you can always reach me by email or by phone at (360) 786-7692, on Facebook at “Sen. Mona Das,” on Twitter at @senmonadas, or on Instagram at @senatormonadas. Send me an email, give me a call, leave a comment on a post, or tweet at me! Even though we have to stay apart to keep our communities safe, we can absolutely stay connected!

Sincerely,

Mona