With only two more weeks to go, we are nearing the end of the 2016 session. During the next several days both the House and Senate will be considering each other's policy bills and making adjustments to the current two-year budgets. Thank you to everyone who has reached out to me through emails, phone calls, and letters on the issues that matter to you. I appreciate your input in this process.
Budget proposal for community projects
Included in the recent Capital Budget proposal is $200 thousand for the Boys and Girls Club to help build a facility in Chehalis. The club provides service to the community by offering students an after-school program. With a focus on academic success, health and fitness, leadership and service, this group helps youth uncover their true potential.
Additional local project requests include $562 thousand for construction of the Scott Hill Park and Sports Complex. The site will have space for baseball, softball, soccer and football fields. Park features will include walking trails, exercise stations, playground equipment and covered picnic areas.
The bipartisan House Capital Budget committee has released a proposal that would construct new classrooms, provide more affordable housing, and help build mental health facilities. As a group we decided to focus on mental health and education, and I believe this budget reflects those priorities.
By moving half a percent of what flows to the Budget Stabilization Account and using it for the Education Construction Fund, House Bill 2968 would put $1 billion into building schools from 2016-2025. This would include an initial transfer of $186 million to build classrooms.
In addition, we are making large investments in forest health, reducing future fire risk, and helping communities that suffered structural damage during the wildfires in 2015.
The proposed construction budget includes:
• $5 million in emergency disaster response.
• $10.8 million for a pilot project to build classrooms with cross-laminated timber (CLT). This new construction method makes it profitable to thin forests, creates local jobs and helps reduce the danger of wildfires.
• Funding to help the state's mental health system includes $9.5 million for the Crisis Triage Center Grant Program, $21 million for Community and Behavioral Grant Program and $16 million for critical repairs and upgrades at state mental health facilities and hospitals.
• $5 million for the Public Works Trust Fund, a way for local governments to fund infrastructure projects.
• $5 million toward the Homeless Youth Grant Program.
For more information about the proposed House construction budget, visit the non-partisan LEAP website.
Thank you for the honor of serving you in Olympia.