DeBolt co-sponsors capital budget plan prioritizing education and mental health care
Today, the House released a bipartisan Capital Budget plan for the 2017-19 biennium. The plan includes $4.15 billion in total spending, with over $1 billion allocated for school construction costs. The proposal would leave $100 million for next year’s supplemental budget, and appropriates $2.47 billion in bonds.
Rep. Richard DeBolt, R-Chehalis, ranking minority member for the Capital Budget Committee, helped design the capital budget plan that would provide for key infrastructure projects throughout the state.
“Not all budgets are created equal. Not all government spending is either,” said DeBolt. “We produced a plan that boosts education and builds a stronger mental health care net. These targeted investments will help our communities for generations to come.”
The capital budget plan prioritizes education with over $1 billion allocated for the School Construction Assistance Program (SCAP). This is an increase of nearly $450 million from the previous biennium. This high level of funding would address the record number of voter approved bonds passed for new school construction and remodeling. An additional $15 million would also be provided for modernization grants for small, rural school districts. Other education investments include $802 million in appropriations for higher education facilities.
With psychiatric wards consistently over-capacity, the proposed budget allocates $120 million for community-based and institution based funding for construction projects including:
- Targeted, statewide investments in behavioral health community capacity.
- Security updates and renovations at Eastern and Western State Hospitals.
- Adds 128 minimum security beds for female offenders with mental health diagnosis’s at Maple Lake.
- Funds the development of a statewide plan for future mental health construction needs.
“We took a deep dive into the growing needs of the mental health care system,” continued DeBolt. “Community based facilities would allow for better treatment for patients and gives hospitals more flexibility for their care.”
The plan also includes $106 million for the Housing Trust Fund with nearly $25 million allocated for supportive housing and case management services for people suffering from chronic mental illness. Another $5 million is set aside for housing projects for people affected by natural disasters. Veteran housing would be given $5.6 million.
Other highlights include public works investments. A total of $226 million has been allocated for:
- $97.1 million for the currently authorized public works loan list.
- $105 million for newly authorized loans and grants pursuant to House Bill 1677.
- $19 million for preconstruction and emergency loans.
- $5 million for drinking water consolidation grants.
###Washington State House Republican Communications