UWPNW Washington Legislative Update - December 22, 2020

In the face of continued uncertainty caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, Governor Jay Inslee has proposed the new two-year budget that will start July 1, 2021. While the budget process will carry on through the 2021 virtual legislative session, it's not too early to be acquainted with the issues at play. Governor Inslee's proposed budget is a starting point. Below is a sampling of some of his budget initiatives that reinforce our goals in the United Ways of Washington legislative framework.

Ensure Equitable Economic Recovery and Support for Struggling Families and Individuals

The Governor's proposed budget:

  • Funds part of the Working Family Tax Credit from the sale of greenhouse emission cap allowances
  • Restores the less restrictive hardship criteria on the 60-month TANF time limit in place before 2011 ($2.1 million)
  • Temporarily pauses food and cash benefit reviews from November 2020 to June 2021 for certain safety net programs ($2.9 million)
  • Funds maximum food benefit payments to people who qualify for the state’s Food Assistance Program during certain months in fiscal year 2021 ($6.7 million)

Increase Access, Affordability, and Quality of Child Care and Early Learning for Working Families

The Governor's proposed budget:

  • Provides health care pilot funding for child care workers ($29 million)
  • Adds 4,900 children to the Working Connections Child Care subsidy ($23.9 million)
  • Reduces the copay for families in Working Connections ($39.7 million)
  • Adds 750 spots to the Early Childhood Education and Assistance Program ($19.3 million)

Increase Access to Affordable Housing and Invest in Solutions to the Homeless Public Health Crisis

The Governor's proposed budget:

  • Extends relief from foreclosure once the federal moratoriums on foreclosure and CARES Act protections expire ($17 million)
  • Expands the pilot Anchor Community Initiative, which targets youth and young adult homelessness, into four new communities ($8 million)
  • Builds approximately 3,390 affordable and innovative housing units and preserves approximately 1,000 aging affordable housing units ($220 million capital budget)
  • Acquires properties such as hotels or motels at an affordable price for a quicker conversion into shelters, permanent supportive housing or transitional housing units ($70 million capital budget)
  • Creates enhanced shelters and converts basic shelters to enhanced shelters as an alternative setting to crowded, congregate shelters with flexibility to spend on laundries, bathrooms and storage spaces ($50 million capital budget)

Ensure Efficient Access to Human Services and Resources by Fully Funding the 2-1-1 Call System

The Governor's proposed budget:

  • Includes only $1 million for WA 211 in the base budget, not the $2 million funding level in the current biennium



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