MYNORTHWEST NEWS

Gov. Inslee signs new $69.2B state budget ‘out of necessity’

May 18, 2023, 8:38 AM | Updated: 10:20 am

inslee state budget...

Washington Gov. Jay Inslee signed the states budget for 2023-2025. (AP Photo/Lindsey Wasson, File)
Credit: ASSOCIATED PRESS

(AP Photo/Lindsey Wasson, File)

Governor Jay Inslee signed legislation Wednesday officially adopting a new $69.2 billion state operating budget, which will last through 2025.

Some of the main focus for the budget spending include teacher and state employee raises, new money for mental health support, emergency housing, and rental aid.

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An additional $4.6 million is also being spent on the state’s Amend program, which hopes to “further pro-social improvements” in the Washington state prison system.

Lawmakers passed more than 450 bills during the legislative session this year, including a new drug possession law during a special session Tuesday, and Gov. Inslee has been signing them into law.

The Legislature also passed sweeping legislation to address a housing crisis, allowing for duplexes and fourplexes throughout much of the state, including in many areas zoned only for single-family homes, and poured hundreds of millions of dollars into housing affordability and homelessness programs.

Republicans were unable to block action on gun restrictions, including a ban on the sales of many semi-automatic rifles and other laws they vehemently opposed. There was bipartisan agreement when it came to a massive $13.4 billion state construction and transportation budget.

Some of those transportation and construction projects include funding the Interstate 5 bridge over the Columbia River, new climate-related investments to electrify the transportation sector, and full funding for the legally-required removal of fish passage barriers.

The Housing Trust Fund was also allocated $400 million in funding to add about 4,400 new affordable housing units over the next two years and 13,200 over the next six years and preserve about 1,000 existing affordable housing units.

While signing the bill, Inslee expressed his disappointment with the budget, saying that some important projects would not get the funding that was needed.

“I expressed these concerns to transportation leadership last December, and I expressed them again in April,” Inslee said at the bill signing. “I will be signing this budget today out of necessity, but no one should interpret my signature as an endorsement.

“In the coming months, my office and transportation leaders will need to continue discussions about how to prioritize projects and ensure that maintenance and preservation are adequately accounted for,” Inslee continued.

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Gov. Inslee signs new $69.2B state budget ‘out of necessity’