2017-2019 Legislative Agenda

In the 2017 and 2018 state legislative sessions, Washington’s elected leaders have an opportunity to ensure that all our residents have strong communities, great schools, and the chance for a bright future. While Washington is known for its innovation and its thriving industries, there nevertheless remains work to be done to make Washington a state that is moving forward and where everyone can prosper. 

Our state budget is one of the most powerful tools we have to invest in progress.

And the path to building a prosperous state begins with equity – with ensuring we have a just and inclusive society in which everyone, including people from every racial and ethnic group, can participate and reach their full potential. When legislators lead with equity, all people, businesses, and communities will benefit. 

The Washington State Budget & Policy Center’s 2017-19 Legislative Agenda outlines key priorities for our state legislators to build a stronger and more equitable Washington.

Read on for our full legislative agenda or click on the graphic below for a printable PDF.

2017-19 Legislative Agenda graphic


ECONOMIC SECURITY:

Goal: All Washington residents can meet their basic needs and live in thriving communities.

  • Ensure access to child care for working families through the Working Connections Child Care program by eliminating the enrollment cap, increasing reimbursement rates for providers, and increasing wages for child care workers.
  • Support families in meeting basic needs while parents look for adequate and stable employment by restoring Temporary Assistance to Needy Families cash assistance, and make sure everyone can secure a roof over their heads through the Housing Trust Fund.
  • Ensure that 50 percent fewer people are living in poverty by 2025 through an intergenerational strategy focused on equity across all racial groups, family types, and geographies.
  • Provide everyone with access to nutritious food in Washington by investigating the scope and impact of hunger and food insecurity to allow state agencies and communities to develop targeted strategies to end hunger.


EDUCATION

Goal: Washington kids have access to a world-class education system with high-quality teachers, curriculum, and enrichment throughout early learning, K-12, and post-secondary education.

  • Make sure young children have access to early childhood education through the Early Childhood Education Assistance Program by increasing slots in the program, making facilities improvements, and increasing the provider rate to support successful expansion.
  • Ensure every child has access to a great basic education, which includes the recruitment and retention of great teachers and the closure of the opportunity gap for children of color.
  • Provide pathways to post-secondary degrees through the State Need Grant, Opportunity Grants, the Guided Pathways model, the College in Prisons program, and the Health Professional Loan Repayment Program.


HEALTHY PEOPLE AND ENVIRONMENT
:

Goal: Washingtonians have equal opportunity to live healthy lives with access to affordable health care and clean air, water and land, as well as protection from the threat of climate change.

  • Preserve and protect Washington state's commitment to ensuring health care for all through the Affordable Care Act, Medicaid, and Apple Health for Kids. 
  • Adopt a carbon tax to reduce emissions, accelerate a just economic transition to a green economy, and reduce the impacts of climate change on our communities and the environment.
  • Reduce toxic pollution in all communities through toxic site cleanups, programs to prevent and control harmful pollution, and grants for local communities facing toxic pollution and waste problems. 


COMMUNITY DEVELOPMENT AND TRUST

Goal: Washingtonians live in strong communities with a high quality of life, have opportunities to thrive, and are represented by a state government that is responsible, efficient, and transparent.

  • Ensure transparency and accountability in our tax code by requiring large corporations to disclose to the public the amounts they receive in state tax breaks, their gross income from activities performed in Washington state, and their bottom-line annual tax payments.
  • Guarantee that Washington residents have access to legal representation in civil matters such as discrimination claims, denial of public benefits, and other situations where they interact with the courts and government entities.
  • Incorporate an equity impact tool in policymaking to advance policies that will close the opportunity gap, and promote equitable outcomes for people of color, women, and children.
  • Reduce barriers to re-entry for people who have been incarcerated through the Fair Chance Act and legal financial obligations reform.


GREAT JOBS
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Goal: Washington has a strong middle class with reliable employment and wages that allow Washington residents to support themselves and their families, upgrade their skills, and save for the future.

  • Ensure all Washington residents can take time off with universal paid Family and Medical Leave insurance.
  • Recognize and protect the right of people to organize and negotiate with their employers and raise wages for front-line workers by funding negotiated collective bargaining agreements for public workers.


REVENUE

Goal: Washington's revenue system is reformed to raise stable, dependable resources to fully fund public schools, to lift up working families, and to fund other priorities that serve us all. 

  • Rebalance the tax code with a 9.9 percent tax on capital gains on the wealthiest 2 percent of Washingtonians.
  • Boost the incomes of more than 400,000 hardworking families in Washington state by fully funding the Working Families Tax Rebate.
  • Eliminate wasteful tax breaks and arbitrary restrictions that are harming Washington schools, while raising the state property tax levy to ensure every child has access to a great education. 
  • Support homeowners and renters who work hard for low pay or are on low fixed incomes with new, targeted property tax rebates. 
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HIGHLIGHTS

A BIG Thank You!

Thanks to our generous community, we surpassed our GiveBIG 2017 fundraising goal and raised almost $10,000! Thank you to everyone who made an investment in the Budget & Policy's work advancing policies that promote shared prosperity. If you'd still like to support us, you can always make a gift here

Watch Our Budget Beat Webinars

We host regular Budget Beat webinars throughout legislative session to bring you updates and breaking news from Olympia and timely policy analysis. Visit our YouTube channel to watch our previous Budget Beats. 

Testimonies in Olympia

To advance our legislative priorities, the Budget & Policy Center team is in the state capitol throughout session testifying on a wide range of bills. Watch our recent testimonies on TVW:
Misha TVW

View Our School Funding Plenary 

Roxana_BMC_plenary_2016View the Budget Matters 2016 conference plenary, "What's at Stake in the 2017-2019 Budget: Funding McCleary and Beyond." Moderated by Ann Dornfeld of KUOW, the plenary features Nathan Gibbs-Bowling, the 2016 Washington State Teacher of the Year; Lew Moore of the Washington Research Council; Roxana Norouzi of OneAmerica; and Sen. Christine Rolfes. The plenary starts after an intro by Executive Director Misha Werschkul and an intro video by Gov. Inslee.