House approves final 2023-25 capital budget, Rep. Mike Steele issues statement on bipartisan plan

With just over two days left in the 2023 session, House lawmakers unanimously approved a new biennial capital budget for construction, infrastructure and repair projects across the state. The capital budget provides funding for a broad range of projects tangible in nature, with a long useable life, such as schools and other public buildings.

The 2023-25 capital budget, Senate Bill 5200, appropriates a total of $8.98 billion in funding, $4.18 billion of which comes from the sale of newly authorized bonds under House Bill 1148. Funded through a variety of sources, including general obligation bonds, dedicated cash accounts, alternative financing contracts, and federal funds the newly approved budget leaves $95.4 million in bond capacity for next year’s 2024 supplemental capital budget to address issues arising between biennial budgets.

Rep. Mike Steele, ranking member of the House Capital Budget Committee and lead Republican negotiator, noted that this session’s capital budget makes significant investments in housing, behavioral health facilities, and K-12 school construction.

The 12th District lawmaker issued the following statement on final passage of the plan:

“The capital budget is proof bipartisanship does exist in Olympia. I’m proud of what we’ve accomplished. This plan reflects key priorities that don’t simply serve minority interests, but all of Washington state. This budget supports development, encourages economic vitality, and puts people to work, even in the smallest of communities.

“Meaningful, long-lasting investments were made in community and infrastructure projects across the state. We also have big allotments for mental and behavioral health facilities, affordable housing — including homeownership opportunities for first-time, low-income buyers — and help for the unsheltered. Other sizeable allocations were made in youth and family services, higher education, natural resources, and big impact investments in K-12 school construction, including modernization projects for small, rural schools in need of updating and repair.

“It’s gratifying to see this well-thought-out capital budget approved, providing community and state growth opportunities for years to come.”

Highlights of the 2023-25 capital budget include:

K-12 School Construction

  • $588.2 million for the school construction assistance program, which provides state funding for school buildings across the state.
  • $100 million for the Small District and Tribal Compact School Modernization program, a program designed to assist the smallest of school districts and tribal schools with much-needed repairs.
  • $40 million for the School Seismic Safety Grant Program, covering the cost of retrofitting or relocating schools in high seismic areas or tsunami zones.
  • $3.98 million to start up the new program outlined in House Bill 1044, providing capital assistance to small school districts unable to pass local capital bonds.

Behavioral Health

  • $613 million to continue construction on the new Western State Hospital, which will provide 350 additional beds to care for forensic patients.
  • $211 million in Behavioral Health Capacity grants for community behavioral health services, including crisis stabilization, substance use disorder, inpatient treatment, and services focused on youth.

Housing

  • $400 million for the Housing Trust Fund, including:
    • $40 million for homeownership opportunities for first-time, low-income homebuyers to help with the cost of down payments or new construction.
    • $25 million for housing for people with developmental disabilities.
    • $95 million for permanent supportive housing, helping people who need housing assistance and supportive programs to remain stable and independent.
    • $14.5 million for youth shelters and housing.
    • $60 million for grants to local governments and PUDs to assist with the cost of utility connections for affordable housing projects.

Department of Commerce Community Grant Programs

  • $231.5 million for local and community projects statewide.
  • $70.4 million for early learning facilities.
  • $38.9 million for health care infrastructure projects.
  • $30.5 million for the Building Communities Fund grant program.
  • $17.6 million for dental capacity projects.
  • $18 million for the Building for the Arts grant program.
  • $10.9 million for the Library Capital Improvement program.
  • $8 million for the Youth Recreational Facilities grant program.

Energy

  • $40 million for the Weatherization Plus Health program, upgrading low-income homes with energy-efficient improvements.

Natural Resources

  • $67.4 million for Floodplains by Design—a program designed to reduce flood risks and restore habitat.
  • $70 million for the Chehalis Basin Strategy, a basin-wide strategy to reduce flood risks and restore aquatic species habitat in the Chehalis River basin.
  • $49 million for the Yakima River Basin Water Supply program.
  • $60.7 million for the Columbia River Water Supply Development program.

Higher Education

  • $449.5 million for maintenance and construction projects within the community and technical college system.
  • $58 million for the renovation and replacement of the Magnuson Health Sciences building at the University of Washington.
  • $40 million for a new Engineering Student Success building at Washington State University.
  • $58 million for the renovation of the Science building at Eastern Washington University.
  • $92.6 million for the Humanities and Social Science Complex at Central Washington University.
  • $47.9 million for the Student Development and Success Center at Western Washington University.

The 2023 session is scheduled to conclude on Sunday, April 23.

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Washington State House Republican Communications
houserepublicans.wa.gov