December 15, 2020
Gov. Inslee has begun rolling out his budget proposals. The main event—the 2021–23 operating budget—isn’t expected to be released in full until later this week. Yesterday, he announced an equity policy package. According to the governor’s office, the package would cost $365 million (from all accounts, not just funds subject to the outlook).
In terms of funds subject to the outlook, the proposal includes:
- $79 million for residential broadband.
- $10 million for the Washington COVID-19 Immigrant Relief Fund. The fund was created in August with $40 million from the state’s share of the federal Coronavirus Relief Fund (CRF, part of the CARES Act). (According to the governor’s proposal, the Immigrant Relief Fund has received $62.6 million in CARES Act funds.)
- $77,000 for the Employment Security Department and the Department of Social and Health Services to study “how to replicate the state’s unemployment insurance program and expand other safety net programs to individuals—regardless of their citizenship status.”
- $42.7 million from the workforce education investment account for higher education equity efforts and grants.
- $26 million to establish the Office of Independent Investigations within the executive branch, “to conduct investigations of police use of excessive force.” (The $26 million includes funding for prosecutions.)
- $2.5 million to fund the Equity Office established by the Legislature earlier this year. (Gov. Inslee previously allocated $401,000 for the Equity Office from the state’s share of the CRF.)
- $5.6 million to make Juneteenth a state holiday.
- Support for SB 5010, which would ban the use of credit scores in determining rates for auto, homeowner, renter, and boat insurance.
Capital budget proposals include:
- $400,000 in capital bonds “for the Department of Commerce to develop targeted equity strategies that are informed by community engagement, outreach and research.”
- $400,000 in capital bonds “for the Recreation and Conservation Office to lead a public stakeholder process for reviewing a subset of the state grant programs it administers.”
- $13.8 million for the Africatown Land Trust to buy a site in Seattle to use for affordable housing.
In the governor’s press conference, he said, “We will propose a balanced budget.” Indeed, the Legislature passed a bill earlier this year that requires the governor’s budget proposals to balance over four years.Categories: Budget.