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The capital budget and local 10th District investments

The 2021 legislative session is quickly coming to a close. The intensity has ramped up as lawmakers in both the Senate and House debate and vote on the state’s three main spending plans: the 2021-23 operating, capital and transportation budgets. Both chambers have their own versions of these plans. Each budget proposal is a separate bill that must obtain approval by the full Legislature before being delivered to the governor for signature.

Now that the various proposals have made it through their respective chambers, budget negotiators and leaders from the Senate, House and the governor’s office will go through the measures line-by-line and decide what stays and what goes. Prior to the final gavel on Sunday, April 25, both chambers will be given a last opportunity to weigh in and vote on the finalized budget plans.

Although the capital budget does not get as much attention as the operating or transportation spending plans, it should. It is a 100% bipartisan effort. Also known as the construction or “brick and mortar” budget, it allocates funding for land acquisitions, parks, broadband, construction and repair of public buildings and other long-term investments.

This session, the House capital budget passed with unanimous support. As a member of the House Capital Budget Committee, I can tell you that our primary objective this year was bolstering pandemic recovery efforts. Democrats and Republicans worked side-by-side to produce a plan that allocates $5.7 billion in funding, $3.5 billion of which is from the sale of general obligation bonds.

For the 10th District, we were able to secure more than $22.6 million in the proposed budget for several local projects, including a couple I will highlight today.

How children spend after-school and summer hours can significantly impact their lives. That is why I was glad to sponsor funding for a new Boys and Girls Club (BGC) facility in Coupeville. The $1.03 million allocation will help construct a 6,000 square foot facility that replaces the current, smaller building, providing much-needed program space for children and staff. Nearly a thousand children and their families, from Coupeville and surrounding communities, use this program. The facility’s new location allows for future expansion to add gymnasium and sports fields.

Another important 10th District allocation supports the Island County Criminal Justice Renovation project. Along with a $200,000 allocation in the House operating budget for the acquisition of body cameras, the proposed capital budget plan includes $600,000 for jail renovations needed to support a residential substance abuse treatment program designed for inmates. This critical investment will provide for the maximum number of slots for offenders accepted into the program, helping them to get their lives back on track.

To learn more about these and other 10th District community projects in the proposed budget, please go to fiscal.wa.gov or call my office. I am always happy to help.

Rep. Greg Gilday has practiced law locally for several years. He and his wife, Megan, live on Camano Island with their two sons, Laker and Graham.

 

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