Gov. Inslee signs $43.7 billion state budget

With less than an hour to spare, Gov. Jay Inslee signed a new two-year $43.7 billion state operating budget in time to avoid a partial government shutdown.

With less than an hour to spare, Gov. Jay Inslee signed a new two-year $43.7 billion state operating budget in time to avoid a partial government shutdown.

His signature came after rapid voting in the Legislature the same day details of the budget were publicly released. The Senate approved the measure on a 39-10 vote, followed by the House's 70-23 vote.

"I believe this budget, at long last, will meet our constitutional obligations to fully and fairly fund basic education, and it also addresses responsibilities we have under the McCleary decision to equitably fund our schools, no matter where (students) live," said Inslee.

The budget spends $1.8 billion on K-12 public schools over the next two years. That investment is part of a $7.3 billion hike over four years designed to satisfy a state Supreme Court ruling that the state had not adequately funded basic education. The budget also adds $618 million for public employee collective bargaining and pay and $102 million in mental health spending.

Below are highlights of the $43.7 billion budget lawmakers voted on Friday. (Details of the final approved budget by Inslee's office are still forthcoming)

-K-12 EDUCATION: $1.8 billion in additional spending for public schools, including $618 million for employee compensation, over the next two years.

Related: Per pupil funding in proposed budget

-HIGHER EDUCATION: Provides $50 million for the state need grant over the next two years and $14.7 million for the state match for the opportunity scholarship. It also spends $15 million for medical education at Washington State University and the University of Washington.

-MENTAL HEALTH: Spends $60 million to cover overspending at the state psychiatric hospitals and to make changes based on an agreement with the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid services. An additional $26.7 million is provided for community mental health investments including crisis centers, community long-term inpatient beds, and clubhouses. More than $17 million goes to increase community placement beds to divert and discharge patients from the state psychiatric hospitals.

-STATE WORKERS: State employee union contracts are funded at a cost of $618 million.

Related: Operating budget overview

-PUBLIC SAFETY: Allocates $3.2 million to the Department of Corrections to allow hiring of additional records staff and make IT system improvements in response to the erroneous early release of prisoners that occurred in 2016. Spends an additional $2.5 million to implement new law that makes fourth DUI a felony.

-HOMELESSNESS: Spends $8.9 million on housing and homeless services, including housing and services for homeless youth and individuals with a history of mental illness.

-HEALTH CARE: The budget includes $739.6 million over 2 years from the Medicaid waiver. The budget also includes $40.9 million for Hepatitis C treatment costs for Medicaid clients with less severe liver disease, and spends $5.6 million to extend coverage for high risk, non-Medicare individuals through the Washington State Health Insurance Pool through December 2022.

Related: How property tax changes under the budget proposal would affect you

-PUBLIC HEALTH: About $15 million in federal and local funding authority is provided for programs and services for people with HIV, $12 million is spent to implement strategies that control the spread of communicable disease, chronic disease, and other health threats. An additional $3 million is spent to test water fixtures in schools across the state for the presence of lead.

-NEW AGENCY: More than $6 million is provided for the administrative costs associated with creating the new Department of Children, Youth, and Families. Starting in fiscal year 2019, the Children's Administration and the Department of Early Learning will be consolidated into the new agency.

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© 2017 KING-TV


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