Proposed House Budget Released: Action Still Needed

Washington State House Democrats proposed a 2019-2021 operating budget on Monday that would provide funding for all collective bargaining agreements. This is good news for state employees, however, the budget process will continue to unfold over the next few weeks.

Invest in Public Services, Invest in Us: Email your state legislators and tell them why it's important to fully fund collective bargaining agreements. You can also leave them a message at 1-855-982-1762.

House Democrats also unveiled a revenue proposal comprised of a capital gains tax, a step toward addressing the nation’s most regressive tax structure. Washington's current structure not only hurts working families but often puts public services on the chopping block. Residents making the least pay 18 percent or more of their income toward state and local taxes, while the wealthiest pay only 3 percent or less.

Senate Democrats are expected to release their budget proposal on Friday.

• View the proposed 2019-2021 House budget here.
• View the agency detail report here.
• Watch the House budget rollout press conference and the subsequent Appropriations Committee public hearing on TVW.

Here are some highlights from the House budget:

All CBAs are ratified and funded in the House budget proposal.  The UW’s extra 2%+2% locality pay proposal dependent on new state dollars is not funded.  Instead, money is provided for an additional increase of 1% + 1% (on top of the 2% + 2% provided in the CBA) pending new agreements with represented employees.

ABHS: The DOC budget includes $950,000 to increase vendor rates for community contractors providing inpatient DOSA services.

AGO: No additional funding is provided for pay raises, but 37.5 FTEs and $9.9 million are added to address caseload growth in child permanency and welfare, and Medicaid fraud control.

Agriculture: $2.7 million in spending authority is removed, and 19 FTEs are cut, assuming the passage of HB 2075 that would shut down the livestock branding inspection program.  The cuts would be restored if that bill dies.

Childhood Deafness: $1.6 million and 7 FTEs are added to support the statewide outreach program.

CJTC: $7 million is provided for nine additional BLEA classes each year, and additional corrections officer academy classes.

Commerce: The budget includes $12.7 million in new funding for the Housing & Essential Needs program.

Conservation: $801,000 is provided for the voluntary stewardship program.

DCYF/Children: $1.7 million and 10 FTEs are provided for additional child welfare social workers.

DCYF/JRA: $7.3 million and 50 FTEs are provided to increase staffing at institutions, $1.2 million and 7.6 FTEs are to operate a newly renovated acute mental health pod for female youth at Echo Glen, and $3.7 million and 8.7 FTEs are added to implement legislation providing JRA services up to age 25 for some kids.

DFW: $13.8 million is provided to cover current agency staff and program costs that are not covered by projected revenue from the wildlife account, and for policy enhancements to agency programs.

DNR: $12.6 million and 29.8 FTEs are added for increased fire response capacity.

DOC: $15.3 million and 60.7 FTEs are provided for a 250-bed work release expansion, including a 41-bed expansion at Ahtanum View.  No cuts to community corrections are assumed.  The agency is also provided with $1.9 million “to reduce inversion and compression between non-represented management positions and subordinate staff.”

DOE: $12 million is provided to shift agency programs currently funded by MTCA back to the general fund on a one-time basis.

DOL: $1.7 million and 10 FTEs are provided to implement I-1639, the voter-approved initiative related to firearm safety.

DRS: Funding is provided to implement HB 1308 (Plan 2 default bill).

DSHS/DD: $27.5 million and 158.9 FTEs are provided to the RHCs to support Medicaid compliance.  63 Rainier School residents who no longer need “active treatment” are transitioning to other RHCs with skilled nursing facilities or to “community placements such as SOLAs.”  Funding is also provided to move residents out of Rainier School PAT A that lost Medicaid certification.  $5.4 million and 62.3 FTEs are provided to continue the transition of DDA-eligible state hospital residents to enhanced SOLAs, and 61 enhanced SOLA placements are funded by the end of FY 2023.  By the end of the 2017-19 biennium, 16 SOLA placements for RHCs residents who have requested community placements will be completed.  $12.6 million and 74.8 FTEs are provided to fund those beds and an additional 31 placements into SOLAs.  In addition, $1.1 million and 5.8 FTEs are provided to establish six state-operated behavioral health training home beds.

DSHS/LTC: The budget assumes passage of HB 1421 which imposes a fee on supported living and other community residential service providers, with the revenue dedicated to funding RCS investigations.  The funding provided will be sufficient to increase the number of investigators from 9.0 to 14.4 FTEs.

DSHS/Mental Health: In all, $73.7 million and 709.4 FTEs are added to the mental health system.  The state hospitals are required to implement an acuity-based staffing model, and track FTE allotments and expenditures, with $86.2 million and 392 FTEs added to support state hospital operations.  In addition, there is an additional $1.6 million and 7 FTEs for hospital maintenance, $4.9 million for 13 additional competency evaluators, $2.2 million for nine forensic navigators, and $2.3 million and 13.4 FTEs to bolster consolidated maintenance and operations.  Two 16-bed state operated evaluation and treatment facilities are assumed to come on line in FY 2023.  Also,

WSH: Additional funding includes $2.8 million and 13 FTEs for 30 additional competency restoration beds, $19.1 million and 66.5 FTEs for a specialized treatment and recovery ward serving assaultive patients, $896,000 for added security guards, and $954,000 for safety training.

ESH: Additional funding includes $24.7 million and 102 FTEs to open two new 25-bed competency restoration units, and $10.2 million and 40.7 FTEs for a psychiatric intensive care unit to serve assaultive patients.

CSTC: $2.1 million and 10.4 FTEs are added to operate up to ten beds in a new cottage.

DSHS/SCC: $512,000 and 3 FTEs are provided to support transport teams in performing hospital watches, and $1.8 million and 9 FTEs are provided to operate the King County secure community transition facility six-bed expansion project.

DVA: $5.1 million is provided to backfill revenue shortfalls at the veterans’ homes in Orting and Walla Walla.

ESD: $4.6 million and 20 FTEs are provided to “continue and increase staffing” for the statewide reentry initiative that connects incarcerated individuals to employment resources before their release.

HCA: $69.2 million NGF ($170.3 million total) is provided to backfill assumed Healthier Washington and pharmacy savings that didn’t actually materialize.

Historical Societies: $973,000 is provided to WSHS, and $842,000 to EWHS, to cover staffing costs that have traditionally been funded through museum ticket sales and fundraisers.

LCB: $3 million and 7.5 FTEs are added for increased cannabis enforcement and licensing.

LNI: Additions include $6.1 million and 26.1 FTEs to reduce claims management workloads, $1.5 million and 8.3 FTEs to address customer service workloads, and $4.0 million and 14.7 FTEs for additional workplace safety and health consultants, inspectors and investigators.  $596,000 and 20.3 FTEs are provided for custodial and maintenance staffing.

OAH: 7.2 FTEs are added to address the expected workload for appeals by employers and employees related to the new paid family & medical leave act.

Parks: $1 million and 3.5 FTEs are provided in one-time funding to address the backlog of preventative maintenance at state parks.

WSP: $10.9 million and 20 FTEs are added to pay for additional staff and equipment to address the sexual assault examination kit backlog.