The recent legislative session was the longest ever, and for many, the most difficult in memory. Lawmakers failed to reach an agreement on a capital budget. This is unprecedented, and, depending on how long it takes to finally pass the budget, will have far-reaching and disruptive impacts on the lives of Washington residents, on our communities and businesses, and on Commerce.
Most projects currently underway will continue, thanks to a re-appropriation in the state operating budget. However, some ongoing drinking water projects and anything requiring a new appropriation halts until a capital budget is approved. For Commerce, this includes new Clean Energy Fund projects, grants and loans from the state’s Housing Trust Fund, Community Economic Revitalization Board, Public Works Board, and Capital Community Facilities projects in virtually every legislative district in the state.
The capital budget funds work that is at the heart of our mission to strengthen communities: water infrastructure, energy resiliency, community facilities, weatherization, early learning schoolrooms, affordable housing, and mental health beds to name some.
While legislative leaders have vowed to continue working on a capital budget agreement, it is currently being held up, pending passage of an unrelated water-rights issue known as the Hirst decision. When or if legislative leaders reach agreement, the Governor has said that he will call a special one-day session to approve the budget bill. Both pieces of legislation are important for Washington communities.
In the meantime, if you have any questions about projects or impacts in your community, your Commerce team will provide information and updates to the best of our ability.