Supplemental Budget Looms Large in 2024 Legislation Session

The 2024 Legislative Session is already at full speed with hearings of interest coming up and the fate of several of United Ways of Washington’s priorities weighing in the balance.  Read on. 

Governor Proposes a $2.5 Billion Bump in Spending
Governor Jay Inslee has proposed adjustments to the current budget that would bring state operating spending up to $70.9 billion for the current two-year period (ending June 30, 2025)  - up $2.5 billion from what was adopted last year. According to the Governor’s budget and policy highlight document, the projected increase in state revenues (since the last budget) has kept up with the “more than $2 billion rise in costs related to providing ongoing services, higher caseloads, and inflation. However, new revenue sources such as the capital gains tax helped ensure those costs are paid for.”  One of the Governor’s budget proposals is to spend an additional $100 million for the Rapid Capital Housing Acquisition program, which allows the state to quickly open new shelter and housing options for people living in encampments.

United Way Promotes Supplemental Funding for Imagination Library 
One of United Ways of Washington's priorities this year is to achieve adequate funding for the Imagination Library Program of Washington, the statewide program that delivers age-appropriate books to children up to age 5. By leveraging support from the Dolly Parton Imagination Library and local partners, this program has been able to deliver age appropriate books to nearly 110,000 Washington families at a state cost of less than $2 per month per household. However, this effective literacy program is running out of money if the Legislature does not allocate an additional  $2.75 million to carry the program through the biennium. Representatives of United Ways, Imagination Library of Washington, and several Imagination Library local program partners will be in Olympia on Thursday, January 18 meeting with legislators and their teams to advocate for the critical need for supplemental funding.

Senate Committee to Consider Washington 211 Mobile Ap Bill
Senate Bill 5943, a bill which calls on Washington 211 to build a mobile phone application to access its database of community services, will receive a hearing before the Senate Committee on Human Services, Thursday, January 18, at 8 a.m. Washington 211, which also has not received enough state funding to keep up with demand, is supporting the bill. You can indicate your support as “pro” online (no need to testify) for the bill by using this form.

Hearing on Permanent funding for the Housing Trust Fund
The House Committee on Finance will take up House Bill 2276 (Senate Companion is SB 6191) on Thursday, January 18. The bill would raise the real estate excise for properties selling for over $3 million. By adding to the transfer tax on the sale of high value properties, the Housing Trust Fund gains a significant baseline funding source to help meet the demand for affordable homes. The bill will also create a new program for affordable housing for people with developmental disabilities, fund Apple Health and Homes, and fund operations of housing built with the Housing Trust Fund. The bill will reduce Real Estate Excise Taxes for properties selling for under $3 million, so the vast majority of properties in Washington will receive a tax reduction.  You can indicate your support for this bill before the Finance Committee with this online form.