King County Executive Dow Constantine announced his proposed 2019-2020 budget, which funds more than 60 lines of business. The $11.6 billion package restructures county government and makes investments in tackling homelessness, expanding the Executive’s Clean Water and Healthy Habitat Agenda, and making sure Metro Transit continues to serve an ever-increasing number of passengers.
King County Executive Dow Constantine’s proposed biennial budget meets regional needs while growing at less than the rate of population and inflation. As population growth continues at a pace unmatched since the Gold Rush, the budget emphasizes core values and priorities, and sets regional government on a course to deliver the highest level of service to King County.
“In this time of rapid, really unprecedented change, I am restructuring county government to better serve the needs of our 2.2 million residents, while making important investments that reflect our common values,” said Executive Constantine. “We will expand transit, make local government more accountable to unincorporated King County, deploy innovative solutions to tackle homelessness, and make sure we preserve and protect all that makes this place so special. This proposed budget helps realize my vision for King County as a place where all people have the opportunity to fulfill their potential, and contribute to the life of the community.”
Watch this overview of the Executive’s proposed budget, and how the County maintains strong financial management despite structural constraints imposed by Olympia that hurt local governments across the state.
Restructuring King County government
The 2019-2020 budget consolidates work and creates three new departments to improve customer service and create clearer accountability. In this video, Executive Constantine walks through the changes, and how they contribute to his goal of making King County the Best Run Government in the nation. In addition to the re-restructure, Executive Constantine announces that Metro Transit will increase bus service by 177,000 hours while investing in bus bases to maintain current and future fleets.
Beyond focusing the region’s attention on the root causes of homelessness and achieving agreement on meaningful prevention strategies as part of the One Table effort, Executive Constantine’s budget calls for funding additional shelters with onsite services to help people transition to stable housing.
The budget uses several funding sources, including the Veteran, Seniors and Human Services Levy, document recording fees, General Fund, Convention Place housing mitigation funds, and Mental Illness and Drug Dependency sales tax revenues to fund permanent supportive housing, treatment, other services, and a variety of shelter models.
- $12 million for modular congregate shelters, micro dwelling units, and permanent supportive housing
- $3 million to expand Law Enforcement Assisted Diversion programs to three south King County cities to facilitate treatment and community services instead of jail for people with behavioral health challenges.
- $2.5 million to enable providers to make mental health care available where people live.
At YouthCenter in Tukwila, the Executive outlined these investments as well as reforms to the juvenile legal system outlined in the Road Map to Zero Youth Detention.
Protecting and restoring our natural environment
From the crest of the Cascades to Puget Sound, Executive Constantine’s budget makes ambitious investments to preserve what we love about this region, and restore what has been lost. Specific programs include:
- $170 million to control combined sewer overflows and update the long-term control plan.
- Using new debt financing to support $148 million to protect key habitat, urban open space, and forest and farms.
- Investing $45 million in county funding and grants to restore shoreline habitat.
- $12.5 million to reduce stream barriers and open 150 miles of salmon habitat.
Aboard the research vessel SoundGuardian, Executive Constantine makes the case for bold actions on environmental protection and confronting climate change.
A fair, simple, stable tax system
Washington’s tax code is broken. Created in the 1930s, it is now known as the most unfair system in the nation. This year’s property tax hikes highlighted the need for something that is fair, simple, and stable. Executive Constantine has some ideas, and he shares them from the facility where all the county’s property taxes are collected and counted.
- Overview of Executive Constantine's 2019-2020 Proposed Budget
- Budget Briefing: Equity and Social Justice
- Budget Briefing: Homelessness
- Budget Briefing: Clean Water, Healthy Habitat
- Budget Briefing: Road Map to Zero Youth Detention
- Budget Briefing: Best Run Government: Financial and Cost Management
- Budget Briefing: Strategic Climate Action Plan
- Budget Briefing: New Departments: Metro Transit, Local Services and Human Resources
In this time of rapid, really unprecedented change, I am restructuring county government to better serve the needs of our 2.2 million residents, while making important investments that reflect our common values. We will expand transit, make local government more accountable to unincorporated King County, deploy innovative solutions to tackle homelessness, and make sure we preserve and protect all that makes this place so special. This proposed budget helps realize my vision for King County as a place where all people have the opportunity to fulfill their potential, and contribute to the life of the community.
For more information, contact:
Alex Fryer, Executive Office, 206-477-7966