Budget amendments adopted by Ways & Means include added funds for HEN, ECEAP and medical schools

Yesterday SB 5048, the 2017–19 operating budget bill, was passed out of the Senate Ways & Means Committee. Here’s a broad overview of the proposal as introduced, and here are more details. As introduced, the bill would increase near general fund–state plus opportunity pathways (NGFS+) spending by $4.8 billion over 2015–17.

The committee approved several amendments. The total change to appropriations has not yet been officially tallied, but it looks to me like the net effect of these amendments is to increase NGFS+ spending by about $27 million. [UPDATE 3/27: According to fiscal.wa.gov, these amendments added $28.9 million.]

Some notable changes:

  • $10.0 million would be restored for the Housing and Essential Needs (HEN) program. 
  • $16.5 million would fund 1,200 slots in ECEAP (early childhood education and assistance program) for three-year-olds. 
  • An additional $5.0 million each would be appropriated for the Washington, Wyoming, Alaska, Montana, Idaho (WWAMI) medical program and WSU’s new College of Medicine. 
  • The rate for private nursing in group and adult family homes would increase, increasing spending by $2.9 million
  • $500,000 would be provided in FY 2019 to mitigate losses of revenue to school districts from the Senate education funding plan in SY 2018–19. (This transition appropriation would increase to $20.0 million in 2019–21.) 
  • A state tourism marketing plan (SSB 5251) would be funded with $500,000
  • The savings estimate from implementing a preferred drug list is increased so that $10.7 million more would be saved
  • $5.7 million would be saved by increasing the reduction in agency staff that don’t provide direct services to the public from 1 to 2 percent. 

The full Senate could vote on the proposal today.

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