OLYMPIA – Gov. Jay Inslee today signed the 2015 supplemental operating budget to keep Washington’s budget balanced through the remainder of the 2013–15 biennium, which ends June 30.
“Supplemental budgets are intended to cover extraordinary expenses or unexpected costs,” Inslee said. “Particularly with last year’s wildfires and needed investments in mental health, these are responsible budget adjustments.”
It includes $88 million to cover the costs of responding to and recovering from last year’s wildfires, including the Carlton Complex fire, the largest fire in state history.
The supplemental budget also addresses a number of pressing human service needs. The budget:
- Boosts investments in the state’s child welfare system for foster care services, including supervised parental visitations and extended foster care.
- Reimburses 15 regional support networks for higher costs not covered under Medicaid.
- Funds a new 30-bed civil ward and a 15-bed forensic ward at Western State Hospital.
- Increases the number of staff providing competency evaluation services.
- Satisfies the home care workers’ judgment in the Rekhter case.
The supplemental budget increases the total biennial budget by about $218 million.
“I commend the Legislature for getting the supplemental budget to my desk so quickly,” Inslee said. “I look forward to working with lawmakers on our next big challenge — building a sustainable budget for the next biennium that makes a bold commitment to education, protects vital services and recognizes the sacrifices our teachers and state workers have made during the past six years.”
To help the Legislature move forward on passing the 2015–17 budget, the supplemental budget bill — which becomes effective immediately — includes a provision requiring that next quarterly state revenue forecast be moved up a month. Instead of March 20, the next forecast will be unveiled tomorrow.