General Legislative Review

March 27-31, 2023: Week 12

A week after the Senate Operating and Capital Budgets were released, House budget leaders rolled out their proposals on Monday. Overall, House leaders spend more in their plans, one of many details that will be negotiated in the weeks to come.


Called “Resilient Washington,” the $69.5 Billion House Operating Budget makes investments in Democratic caucus priorities, including:

Racial Equity

  • $200 million for the Community Reinvestment Account
  • $73 million for refugee support and education
  • $99 million to provide health care for undocumented adults (children are already covered)
  • $25 million to fund Cascade Care for low-income Medicaid ineligible individuals

Education and Workforce Development

  • $570 million for salary adjustment and healthcare cost increase for K-12 educators
  • $179 million to increase funding supports for special education students
  • $85 million to expand access to free meals for students
  • $10 million in dual language grants and program enhancements
  • $82 million to expand Early Childhood Education and Assistance Program slots and increase rates
  • $9 million for child-care facilities to offer non-standard hours
  • $67 million to increase workforce development at community and technical colleges
  • $45 million to increase funding for health care workforce and training
  • $40 million to expand access to the Washington College Grant and dual credit programs

Housing, Human Services, and Poverty Reduction

  • $128 million in food assistance programs
  • $44 million to fund an 8% increase to Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF), ABD and other cash assistance programs
  • $175 million for emergency housing and rental assistance
  • $150 million towards the covenant homeownership program
  • $60 million for encampment response and outreach
  • $27 million for increased funding to Housing and Essential Needs

Public Health, Behavioral Health, Long-Term Care, and Developmental Disabilities

  • $100 million in foundational public health services
  • $68 million to increase rates for healthcare workers, targeting primary care and pediatricians
  • $17 million in funding for reproductive health services and security measures
  • $344 million for a 15% rate increase for behavioral health providers
  • $193 million for additional behavioral health bed capacity
  • $139 million to expand substance use disorder prevention and treatment
  • $98 million for behavioral health crisis, outreach, and diversion programs
  • $25 million for youth behavioral health
  • $762 million to increase homecare worker rates for individual providers
  • $339 million for adult family home collective bargaining agreements
  • Supports providers and workers with rate increases including:
  • Nursing home rates – $228 million
  • Assisted living rates – $75 million
  • Supported living rates – $71 million
  • Employment and community inclusion – $44 million
  • $156 million for patient transitions out of acute care hospitals

Climate Commitment Act and Natural Resources

  • $316 million in Climate Commitment Act investments
  • $45 million for forest health and wildfire protection
  • $25 million for biodiversity protection


The House Capital Budget is an $8.3 Billion plan and if approved at that level, would set a new record for construction spending. Highlights include:

Affordable Housing and Home Upgrades

  • $400 million for the Housing Trust Fund
  • $75 million for utility and infrastructure costs related to affordable housing construction
  • $50 million for affordable Transit-Oriented Development
  • $40 million for land acquisition for affordable housing
  • $14.5 million for youth shelter and transitional housing
  • $83.2 million for whole-home energy retrofits
  • $35 million for low-income weatherization
  • $6 million for low-income rural home rehabilitation

Behavioral Health

  • $613 million for construction of a new 350-bed forensic hospital at Western State
  • $211 million for competitive grants to community behavioral health providers
  • $24 million for construction of a 48-bed civil commitment facility in southwest Washington
  • $21 million for 136 new civil commitment beds at Maple Lane
  • $13 million for family-centered drug treatment

Clean Energy & Climate

  • $198 million for electric heat pumps for low-income households and small businesses
  • $60 million for the Clean Energy Fund
  • $40 million for projects in hard-to-decarbonize sectors
  • $20 million for solar and energy efficiency grants to public buildings

Public Schools, Colleges & Universities 

  • $806 million for K-12 construction, including $588 million for the School Construction Assistance Program
  • $400 million for Community and Technical Colleges
  • $344 million for public universities

Community Facilities

  • $75 million for the Early Learning Facilities Fund
  • $36 million for healthcare infrastructure, including $11.7 million for the Tubman Center
  • $26 million for the Building Communities Fund program

Public Infrastructure

  • $400 million for the Public Works Assistance Account
  • $50 million for broadband matching dollars, leveraging federal funds
  • $25 million for CERB infrastructure projects

Other Investments

  • $150 million for new buildings on the capital campus along with renovations of the John L. O’Brien Building and Pritchard Building
  • $129 million for Local Community & Projects
  • $821 million in natural resource investments including drinking water, forest management, toxic cleanup, recreation and conservation, and state parks


House Democrats proposed a second supplemental transportation budget for the 2021-23 biennium and the new transportation budget for the 2023-25 fiscal biennium, providing a spending authority of $10.3 Billion and $13.6 Billion, respectively. These budget funds will be used to implement last year’s Move Ahead Washington package (almost $17 Billion) over a 16-year period, as well as projects from the 2015 Connecting Washington package ($16 Billion investment), also over a 16-year period.

Highway Improvements & Preservation

  • $5.67 Billion
    • Restored North/South Freeway near Spokane (connecting I-90 at the south, just west of the Thor/Freya interchange and US 2 and US 395)
    • The Puget Sound Gateway Program (SR 167 and SR 509 completion)
    • The Interstate Bridge Replacement Program connecting Washington and Oregon
    • Restored funding for SR 18 widening to improve highway safety
    • Emergent highway improvements and preservation
    • Culverts: Continued state commitment to address fish passage blockages associated with WSDOT roads


  • $1.26 Billion
    • Workforce initiatives at WSF: (SB 5550)
      • Support pre-apprenticeship support services program (PASS) to ensure WSF staff are representative of the communities they serve. This program will provide technical education, sea time, employment readiness skills, as well as supportive services to aid underserved and underrepresented individuals to gain meaningful, family-wage jobs with WSF.
      • Fund the able-bodied sailor (AB) to Mate Pathway This will improve the process for unlicensed deckhands to receive their mate’s license.
      • Scholarships for mate candidates and fund necessary education for successful licensing.
      • Fund new employee training, pay for TWIC cards, and housing for workforce training.
      • Creates a partnership between WSF and Seattle Maritime Academy to develop a joint training and recruitment plan that centers WSF’s training and development needs and focuses on concrete action to recruit diverse students for the ferry workforce and maritime training.
      • Making a significant investment in Eagle Harbor (Bainbridge Island) to keep ferries on the water.
  • New Vessels: (HB 1846 + SB 5760)
    • Funds three hybrid-electric conversions
    • Funding to get started on construction of five new hybrid-electric vessels. Work will begin this biennium through next five biennia.

Traffic Safety

  • $3.7 million for automated speed cameras in work zones (SB 5272)
  • Driver reexamination after causing substantial bodily harm (HB 1319)
  • $2.8 million for Washington State Patrol recruitment incentives: (HB 1638)
  • $2 million for UW/WSDOT sidewalk inventory in overburdened communities
  • $1.61 million for boosting bicycle/pedestrian projects and programs through CCA
  • $750K for equipment repair grant program

The Senate unveiled their transportation proposal on Wednesday, coming in at $12.9 Billion for the 2023-25 budget and $10.6 Billion for the 2021-23 biennium supplemental. Like the House plan, the Senate focuses on traffic safety, workforce expansion in the state patrol and ferry system, electrification, transit, green investments, and capital projects throughout Washington.

Upcoming Dates

  • April 4 – Fiscal committee cutoff – opposite house
  • April 12 – Floor cutoff – opposite house
  • April 23 – Sine Die

Source: Brynn Brady, Ceiba Consulting, Inc. |