Dear friends and neighbors,

Last week I gave you an update about the capital budget, which funds our state’s construction projects and physical infrastructure, where I’m the lead budget writer. If you missed that email, I don’t blame you – I get that same feeling of endless emails from politicians filling up the inbox – but you can catch up on it here if you’re interested. I hope you are, because we’re doing some really good stuff.

This week, I’d like to update you on the other two major budgets that the Legislature passes each year – operating and transportation.

The operating budget pays for so many of the state’s most important programs – K-12 education, health care, homelessness, and so much more. It’s a great budget this year – we’re making major investments in the programs that folks count on, without raising taxes and while leaving a significant amount of money in reserve in case of an economic downturn. There’s a summary of it here, but a couple of highlights, both statewide and for the 5th LD:

  • Education and early learning – The budget makes the largest investment in K-12 education since the McCleary court decision, with a focus on special education.
  • Public safety – We’re funding training for law enforcement, cracking down on auto theft and organized retail theft, supporting law enforcement recruitment, holding negligent gun dealers accountable, cleaning up homeless encampments on public right-of-way, and more.
  • Health care – The budget will transform the state’s behavioral health and drug addiction treatment system, including funding new behavioral health crisis facilities, more community-based housing, and new programs to support people with special needs such as developmental disabilities or chronic mental illness.
  • Eliminating fees for College in the High School – I’ve talked to you a lot about this one, because College in the High School programs are so popular here in the 5th District. We’re finally eliminating fees for this so that students can participate regardless of their family’s financial situation.

The big news for our district in the transportation budget is Highway 18. Last December, Gov. Inslee proposed delaying widening Highway 18, which is an important part of the new Highway 18/I-90 interchange that we’re building. Once finished, this project will speed up traffic flow, improve safety, and end those mile-long back-ups waiting to take the exit, and my seatmates in the House and I made sure that we’ll keep that project on track.

One last important thing – all three of these budgets are bipartisan. I think we usually reach the right solution when both parties can work together and come to agreement, and that’s what’s happened with all three of these.

If you have any questions or thoughts on any of these, let me know. I’m at and happy to help however I can. As always, thank you for reading!


Sen. Mark Mullet