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Executive Constantine unveils 2023 – 2024 budget, highlights investments in key priority areas including clean energy, public safety, housing projects, and behavioral health
Focusing on four priority pillars of work first introduced in his 2022 State of the County, King County Executive Dow Constantine joined the King County Council today to deliver his 2023 – 2024 biennial Proposed Budget. The $15.8 billion budget will make major investments in the Executive’s priority areas focused on battling the climate crisis and restoring our environment, ensuring every person has a home, ensuring a community where every person is safe, and uprooting racism and racial disparities.
In his prepared remarks, Executive Constantine spoke to each of these areas emphasizing that this budget proposal is a road map to King County’s values – prioritizing investments in communities and populations farthest from opportunity, access, and justice, in order to ensure that King County is making a welcoming community where every person can thrive.
The King County Council on Tuesday approved a $672 million supplemental budget.
The King County Council on Tuesday approved a $672 million supplemental budget. The approved 2021 mid-biennial supplemental adds funding for climate equity projects, gun violence reduction, bus service restorations, tiny home villages, waterfront shuttle service, bike helmet awareness, economic recovery, and much more.
Councilmembers voted unanimously to approve the budget.
“Over the past two years, we’ve been able to make important and equitable investments in public health, transit, housing, and public safety, and this mid-biennial budget continues these across the County,” said Councilmember and Budget Chair Jeanne Kohl-Welles. “These new investments will be transformative for folks whose jobs are being restored, individuals who will be able to obtain shelter and permanent supportive housing, those living with mental illness and drug dependency or in need of opioid addiction services, and for families utilizing the Best Starts for Kids programs. And new climate equity projects will support those disproportionately impacted by climate change. As we close out our last budget of 2021, I continue to be appreciative of the creativity and dedication of my colleagues at the Council, as well as Executive Constantine and his team, in our response and recovery initiatives in meeting the extraordinary challenges of the global COVID-19 pandemic as well as a serious recession.”
With more promising revenue forecasts since adoption of the 2021-22 biennial budget last November, the Council was able to restore a number of cuts that were made at the time, including in the Mental Illness and Drug Dependency program, in public transit and more.
The following are some key investments in the adopted budget:
Full details of the budget can be found online here.
Councilmember and Vice Chair of Budget and Fiscal Management Committee Rod Dembowski: “I’m very pleased with the significant investment this budget makes in speeding up our bus electrification initiative, as well as an initial climate bond for important capital projects to address climate change and its impacts. We must do a lot more, and do it more quickly to address climate change and I hope we can send to the voters a major climate bond proposal in 2022 that builds on this initial work.”
Council Vice Chair Reagan Dunn: “I am glad the Council has taken an important first step to improving public safety in King County by providing $4 million for retention and hiring bonuses for King County Sheriff deputies as well as a recruiting officer. Together, these investments will help us hire and keep quality law enforcement officers. Given the severe staffing shortages that the Sheriff’s Office is experiencing, this funding is necessary to provide basic level of public safety services for our residents. While this is a step in the right direction to rebuild our law enforcement, the Council must continue the necessary work of re-investing in our Sheriff’s Office and in the safety of our residents.”
Councilmember Kathy Lambert: “I support a budget that continues to build on our economic development, COVID recovery, and public safety. King County residents rightfully expect a high level of service from the Sheriff’s office. The investments adopted include an opportunity to recruit and fill the 59 vacancies that will help make sure that the Sheriff is appropriately staffed and continue to provide the level of service that residents have grown accustomed too. Budgets often focus on the major investments, however this budget includes some very impactful small investments as well. For example, this budget will help create an inventory of privately owned sole-access roadways to aid in emergency planning. While small, this project will improve emergency planning efforts and help make sure all residents of the county can have more tools that help will be available if it is ever needed.”
King County Executive Dow Constantine's proposed $617 million mid-biennial supplemental budget – transmitted to the King County Council today – includes $20 million for Climate Equity bonds for projects supporting frontline communities disproportionately affected by climate change. Other notable investments in the budget include:
"The past two years have proved what we've been saying: That we can’t wait – not on climate, not on early childhood education, and not on remaking public safety - and the investments in this budget will create a more equitable, just, prosperous King County,” said Executive Constantine. “We are focusing our funds on making transportation more efficient and accessible, ramping up Mental Illness and Drug Dependency treatment, prioritizing our environment through preservation and climate equity bonds, and investing in King County’s future."
The proposal also includes the restoration of reserves in the General Fund, Diversion Program fundsfor the imminent start of the program, and deployment of REET funds for the acceleration of culvert replacements and sidewalks in low-income neighborhoods.
The proposed supplemental budget was transmitted to the County Council on Sept 30. The mid-biennial budget is used to adjust the Council adopted 2021-2022 $12 billion budget and generally reflect changed circumstances such as revised revenue forecasts, new grants, and updated opportunities.
King County Executive Dow Constantine today transmitted a $600 million spending plan to the King County Council, funded in part by the American Rescue Plan. Executive Constantine’s priorities include continuing the public health response and increasing vaccinations; community supports and anti-racist-work; economic recovery with a new program that promotes access to jobs and housing supports.
King County Executive Dow Constantine released the following statement on the $1.74 billion Harborview Medical Center bond measure after King County Elections posted that it was passing by 77 percent of the vote in early returns.
"While there are still many votes to be counted, I thank the voters of King County for their support for Harborview Medical Center. These investments will ensure that our region continues to be the best place in the country to receive emergency medical care, and needed seismic upgrades will protect the lives of patients, employees, and visitors to Harborview. Besides helping people with behavioral health needs and better preparing the region to fight pandemics, the measure creates thousands of family-wage construction jobs at a time when our region needs them the most.
"Every generation has stepped up to support Harborview Medical Center. I am proud that this generation is no different."