De ar friends and neighbors,
I want to start by thanking everyone who was able to attend the town hall meetings this weekend. Hearing from you about the issues you care about is an important and valuable part of the legislative process.
This week, the Senate is working on the operating budget, which adjusts funding levels during the short legislative session based on new information since the biennial budget passed last year. Because of the significant revenue growth projected this February, there will be no need to raise new taxes while still investing in important programs. Here are some investments included in the proposed budget that I want to highlight:
- Additional state support for nursing homes. Over the last few years, multiple Washington State nursing homes have closed their doors. I want to help the nursing homes we have in our community stay open. The Senate budget includes millions of dollars for nursing homes that should dramatically improve the financial stability of those homes and guarantee options for seniors in our community.
- Enhanced services for those facing foreclosure. The statewide nonprofit resource center has been allocated more money to provide services, such as mediators who work with homeowners and landlords, foreclosure prevention hotlines, and low-income legal services. This is an important step to ensure we employ all options to keep people in their homes.
- Funding for behavioral health treatment and facilities. Behavioral health is a top priority for the legislature, especially considering its link to homelessness, substance use disorder, and violence. By investing in a new training and treatment facility at UW, as well as increasing resources at our existing facilities, we can work to get those in need paired with available resources.
The lack of tax increases in this budget demonstrates the fiscal responsibility I appreciate in our state budgets. While I believe our state should be saving more money and spending less, I support the much-needed investments included in this budget.
Last year, the operating budget included $15,000 for the winners of the state championship of the civics education program “We The People” to travel to the national championships in Washington D.C. I am happy to report that Tahoma High School’s We the People team has received that funding and will be traveling to the championships later this spring to compete. The Senate honored the team on the Senate Floor today with a resolution to celebrate their incredible work ethic and success!
As always, please feel free to reach out to my office with questions,