Rep Tharinger says budget changes would assist schools, rural areas, and mental health

24th District Representative Steve Tharinger, chair of the House Capital Budget Committee, released changes (House Bill 2395) to the two-year construction budget that would invest more in public school construction, access to broadband internet in rural areas and mental health facilities.

“These projects will create jobs while building a better future for the people we serve,” said Rep. Steve Tharinger (D-Sequim). “It’s a bipartisan budget that responds to changing conditions and emerging needs throughout the great state of Washington.”

In a release, The Washington House Democrats said that last month, the House and Senate approved the $4.2 billion two-year construction budget.

This proposal would modify that budget and fund projects using new funds–$208 million in new capacity and $104 million from dedicated accounts.

According to the release, the biggest changes include: 

  • School construction—$88 million more to match recently-raised local funds and cover the significant cost overruns resulting from the delayed biennial capital budget and $14 million for Distressed School grants.
  • High-speed internet in rural Washington—$5 million in new funding to boost rural broadband access.
  • Mental health—$39 million to address lawsuits and other pressing needs that require immediate, coordinated investment, including $9 million to convert 60 beds at Western State Hospital from civil beds into forensic beds and $3.5 million for 25 forensic beds at Eastern State Hospital. Additionally, there is $11.3 million for five community based behavioral health facilities.
  • Emergent needs at other state facilities—Including leaking roofs, broken HVAC systems, security and cost increases.
  • Toxic cleanup—With greater revenues going into a fund to clean up toxic sites, the budget proposal funds additional stormwater and cleanup projects.
  • Housing and community projects—A $4 million boost to the Housing Trust Fund to help with affordable housing and $21 million for emerging community projects around the state.

To read the documents related to this budget proposal, visit

The post Rep Tharinger says budget changes would assist schools, rural areas, and mental health appeared first on KXRO News Radio.

Powered by WPeMatico