OLYMPIA — Gov. Jay Inslee on Tuesday proposed additional spending to address overcrowded prisons, prevent school dropouts and upgrade technology to aid small businesses.
The supplemental budget the Democratic governor unveiled has about $200 million more in spending, including $8.2 million in response to a settlement that requires the state to expand mental health services for children. The proposal comes six months after he approved a $33.6 billion two-year state budget.
Inslee said the state doesn’t currently face a budget shortfall but steady economic growth is not likely to keep up with growing expenses as the state heads toward the 2015-2017 biennium.
“Holding steady this year will allow us to prepare for the next year when the situation and the task before us will be greater,” he said.
Nearly two years ago, the Washington Supreme Court ruled that the state is not fulfilling its constitutional duty to pay for basic education and is relying too much on school districts to raise extra dollars through local levies. The justices want to see the Legislature pay for previously adopted education reforms and proof of yearly progress toward completing the work by 2018. Inslee’s budget office has estimated those costs at about $5 billion over the next few years.