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Nearly $8-billion capital budget passes Senate

Nearly $8-billion capital budget passes Senate — The State Senate recently passed a $7.9-billion capital construction budget, followed by introduction in the House of its version of the capital budget, pegged at $8.1 billion.

Among the highlights and similarities between the two versions are:

  • a record-setting $400 million for the Housing Trust Fund in both budgets;
  • $650 million in the Senate, $613 in the House for a new forensic hospital at Western State;
  • $400 million in both budgets for the Public Works Assistance Account to provide low-interest loans for local infrastructure projects (as requested by AGC);
  • $894 million (Senate) or $847 (House) for K-12 construction; both include $588 million for modernization and new construction grants to school districts via the School Construction Assistance Program;
  • $1.2 billion (Senate) or $1.3 billion (House) for higher-education facilities at the four-year institutions and the Community and Technical Colleges.

The budgets outline state infrastructure spending for the next two years and stay within the state’s constitutional debt limit – an important step to protect the state’s historically high AAA credit rating and avoid higher debt-service payments that could financially hinder future state budgets.

Details and specific project lists are available at fiscal.wa.gov.

“This is a strong budget that steps up to the scale of the challenges facing our state, and does so in a fiscally responsible way that we can sustain into the future,” said Sen. Mark Mullet (D-Issaquah), vice chair of the Senate Ways & Means Committee. “When you look at the big issues – housing affordability, educating our future workforce, addressing our climate crisis – this budget makes major investments in addressing all of them. None of our challenges are going to be solved overnight, but this budget takes the steps necessary to meet our pressing needs while creating jobs and spurring economic growth.”

“The Senate’s capital budget addresses needs all throughout Washington, and it provides funding for important projects in a wide variety of areas, from education and public safety to housing and water and more,” said Sen. Mark Schoesler, (R-Ritzville), and the Republican lead on the Senate capital budget. “I’m pleased our capital budget funds many projects that will help our colleges and universities, and I’m especially glad to see money for school seismic safety grants, which is important since our state is in earthquake country. I’m also pleased there is funding for water-supply projects, which will benefit agriculture and other water users. The Senate’s capital budget takes a statewide approach, as it should.”

In the coming days, the two chambers will meet and negotiate their differences to reach agreement on a final version before the end of session. The last day of the 2023 session is Sunday, April 23.

For more information contact AGC Chief Lobbyist Jerry VanderWood.

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