Washington Legislative Update -March 26, 2019

It's time to contact your legislators regarding the House operating and capital budget. Votes will be taken this week. And stay tuned, the Senate budget proposal will likely be released later this week. 

Working Family Tax Credit Would Make State More Balanced and Fair
Your voice is needed now to help raise awareness about the need for a progressive tax and budget structure.  Revenue for the next biennial budget (July 1, 2019 to June 30, 2021) is expected to grow by about $4.5 billion over the previous biennium, but sadly, revenue growth has not kept up with the state's economy and its demands on classroom and caseload growth. As a result, our unmet needs in education, mental health, social services and other areas continue to increase, making it harder to catch up.  This year, the Governor and the House Democrats have proposed a capital gains tax that should slightly improve the situation while making overall state taxes a bit more progressive. A significant improvement would be to fund the Working Family Tax Credit (WFTC) which will put more money into the hands of low and moderate income residents to meet their monthly family needs. Contact your legislators today and ask them to add the WFTC into the final budget package.(HB 1527 and SB 5810.)

House Proposed Operating Budget Increases Funding for Washington 211
The House Committee on Appropriations will vote on the next biennial budget (HB 1109) tomorrow morning. The budget includes an additional $1 million to boost statewide delivery of Washington's 211 information service.  (Thank You) The budget also includes an additional $38 million for Housing and Essential Needs referral program -- lower than the $69 million increase needed and sought by advocates. You can comment on the budget bill online but its more effective to contact the offices of your legislators directly.

House Capital Budget Proposes $150 million for Affordable Housing
The House Committee on Capital Budget took up its proposed biennial budget (HB 1102) this morning with a committee vote scheduled for March 29. Currently, the proposal authorizes $150 million for affordable housing projects under the Housing Trust Fund, including $30 million is for housing projects that provide supportive housing and case-management services for persons with chronic mental illness. While $150 million is good, Housing Trust Fund needs are put at $200 million. 

Summary of Issues to Inform Your Legislators 

  • Include Working Family Tax Credit into the operating budget
  • Fully fund the Housing and Essential Needs program to $69 million
  • Fully fund the Housing Trust Fund needs to $200 million in the Capital Budget
  • Thank you for funding Washington 211 program. 

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