In the 2015 legislative session, Gov. Inslee brokered the bipartisan passage of a new state operating budget that reinvests in Washington and is sustainable, responsible and fair.

The governor’s proposed 2016 supplemental budget makes modest, responsible adjustments to the current budget. The adjustments are primarily to pay for caseload increases and emergency responses to wildfires and urgent mental health needs.

Current Work

  • Invest in K-12 education. Make significant investments in K-12 education to fulfill our constitutional obligations under the state Supreme Court’s McCleary decision and make strategic investments in services and programs that best increase student success.
  • Ensure protections for the most vulnerable. Hold the line against further cuts to services that protect the most vulnerable and help make sure children are healthy and ready to learn.
  • Build on Lean success. Continue building on our success in Lean management to further reduce wait times, improve services to our customers and clients, and save taxpayers millions of dollars.
  • Implement a sustainable budget. Provide funding to address the ongoing needs around our state.  

2016 Legislative Session 

  • Update 2015-2017 budget. Pass a supplemental budget that makes modest adjustments to the 2015-2017 budget and pays for rising caseloads, emergency wildfire response and urgent mental health needs.

Key Successes


  • A sustainable budget which makes historic investments in our state. 
    • The biennial operating budget, which passed with the largest bipartisan majority in at least 15 years, addresses nearly all the priorities put forward by Gov. Inslee in December. It includes:
      • Major investment in K-12 basic education that keeps us on track to meet our obligation to the Supreme Court and includes funding for all-day kindergarten for children statewide and reduces K-3 classroom sizes ($1.3 billion)
      • A historic expansion for the state’s early learning program to 1,600 more children ($95.3 million)
      • A renewed commitment to student success programs, including $5 million for a teacher mentoring program
      • To ease the financial burden of higher ed and help students graduate on time, tuition cuts for college students and an expansion of financial aid. (8,000 more scholarships and state need grants)  
      • Critical mental health investments to reduce wait times in state hospitals and prevent psychiatric boarding (235 more beds for psychiatric boarding prevention and competency restoration)
      • Additional child protective and child welfare service workers to keep our kids safe (41 workers)
      • Prevention and response measures for oil spills along rail lines 
      • Restoration of funding for State Park operations and improvements ($22.3 million in funding for staff and operations)
      • Cost-of-living increases for state employees and teachers for the first time since 2008
    • The operating budget closes more than $220 million in tax loopholes.
    • The $3.9 billion capital budget will provide 21,000 jobs and includes more than $800 million for school construction and K-3 class size reduction, $55.3 million for the Washington Wildlife & Recreation Program, and $40 million for the governor’s Clean Energy Fund.
  • Transportation investments. Gov. Inslee and legislators worked to pass a much-needed 16-year, $16 billion transportation investment package that addresses critical maintenance, safety and congestion needs around the state.


  • Lean savings. Through Results Washington, the state has effectively engaged its employees, partners and the public in building a healthier, better-educated and more prosperous Washington. Initial reports from Results Washington show the state has saved millions of dollars in 2014, is reducing future costs, and better tracking outcomes of current state spending.


  • Hold-steady budget which invests in education, human services and other critical shortfalls.
    • Gov. Inslee and lawmakers crafted a budget that put more than $1 billion in K-12 education and put a freeze on college tuition, while protecting — and in some cases enhancing — funding for programs that protect our most vulnerable citizens and ensure public safety. They also addressed critical shortfalls in a few areas, such as state parks.
    • The budget fully embraced Medicaid expansion as allowed under the federal Affordable Care Act. By doing that, the state should save more than $300 million over two years.  
    • The 2013–15 capital budget included:
      • $3.6 billion for new projects statewide and provides $2.8 billion for the continuation of projects underway.
      • Approximately $600 million into new construction for K-12 education and ~$500 million to complete construction projects underway.
      • $56 million in housing investments for farmworkers, veterans, people with chronic mental illness and people with developmental disabilities.
      • $40 million in technologies that save energy, reduce energy costs, cut harmful air emissions and boost energy independence for Washington.


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