Governor Jay Inslee proposed a $46.7 billion that fully funds public schools, provides state employees a raise, freezes college tuition and transforms the way the state cares for those with mental illness.
It covers two years of spending starting July 1, and relies on $5.2 billion from new and higher taxes as well as reserves and transfers to balance.
Overall, it proposes nearly $8 billion more in spending than in the current state budget.
The majority of those additional dollars are earmarked to tackle challenges of the McCleary school funding mandates and an ambitious reform of mental health services.
Inslee vowed at a news conference to keep a laser focus on those issues in what will be “one of the most important legislative sessions in a long, long time in the state of Washington.”
It includes a $146.2 million boost in the State Need Grant program to provide financial aid to an additional 14,000 college students;
$56.7 million to community colleges and universities to keep tuition from rising in the next two years.
And $27.8 million to add 2,700 slots for children in the state’s Early Childhood Education and Assistance Program.
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