Saturday, May 25, 2024
Point of View

A closer look at the updated capital budget

Legislature approves “supplemental” funding during its 2024 session

Posted

Our state approves three budgets every two years. These budgets fund Washington’s operating ($71.9 billion), transportation ($14.6 billion), and capital ($10.3 billion) expenditures, including public services, road improvements, and infrastructure projects. Much public attention is directed to the operating budget, due to its size and scope, but the other budgets also fund significant investments for our state and region. 

Capital Budget Benefits

The 12th District legislators have been able to generate big wins for our region through the capital budget. Our legislative team, with Rep. Steele serving a key role in its development, has been able to leverage this budget to fund many of our regional priorities, including new buildings at Wenatchee Valley College, enhancements for outdoor recreation, improvements to park facilities, water and sewer extensions, and other key projects. 

2024 “Supplemental” Budget

On March 29, the Governor signed the updated 2023-25 capital budget. Funding provided in the original two-year budget along with some supplemental items are authorized for the remainder of the two-year period ending June 30, 2025. Below are highlights from this year’s capital budget update:

Matching Funds for School Facilities

The updated capital budget includes a significant increase to the School Construction Assistance Program, which provides matching grants to school districts whose communities approve construction bonds. Eligible school districts will now receive $375 per square foot of matching funds for facilities rather than the previous $271 per square foot. This is the huge boost in allocation and could significantly benefit Eastmont School District, if voters approve the district’s April bond measure.

Wenatchee Valley Technical Skills Center ($14.5 million)

This year’s budget placed a special focus on K-12 school facilities. Similar to the increased matching funds mentioned previously, funding for skills centers was a top K-12 priority because they equip regional students with technical job skills. Students completing skills center programs are able to enter the workforce with healthy earnings. The Wenatchee Valley Technical Skills Center received $14.5 million for its renovations and expansion, making it one of the most significant projects funded in the budget.

Leavenworth Affordable Rental Project ($1.3 million)

The capital budget update includes critical funding to complete Upper Valley MEND’s Affordable Rental Project, which will preserve 31 apartment units in Leavenworth for affordable workforce rentals. This project has been a multi-year effort for MEND, who received support from the City of Leavenworth, Chelan County, Washington state, and private contributors. This year’s $1.3 million closes the project’s final funding gap.

Regional Sports Complex Site Evaluation ($300k)

Cities and counties on both sides of the river have been working together for several months with the Chelan-Douglas Regional Port Authority to consider the possibilities of a Regional Sports Complex, including an indoor aquatic facility. This year’s state budget allocation will support the Regional Port and the Study Committee as they continue to thoughtfully evaluate the project, including site evaluation and pre-design.

Looking ahead to next session

The state Legislature meets annually every January. With the three budgets approved and updated for the 2023-2025 biennium, lawmakers will not likely meet again in session until January 2025. The Legislature's makeup could be different depending on new members taking office. 

If you have any questions, please contact me at senatorbradhawkins.org or call our Legislative Hotline at 1-800-562-6000. Thank you for the opportunity to serve as your state senator.

Brad Hawkins serves as State Senator for the 12th District.

Comments

No comments on this item Please log in to comment by clicking here