King County Executive Dow Constantine joined the King County Council today to present his $15.8 billion biennial Proposed Budget, prioritizing major investments in battling the climate crisis, ensuring every person has a home, improving public safety, and uprooting racism.
Focusing on four priority pillars of work first introduced in his 2022 State of the County, King County Executive Dow Constantine joined the King County Council today to deliver his 2023 – 2024 biennial Proposed Budget. The $15.8 billion budget will make major investments in the Executive’s priority areas focused on battling the climate crisis and restoring our environment, ensuring every person has a home, ensuring a community where every person is safe, and uprooting racism and racial disparities.
In his prepared remarks, Executive Constantine spoke to each of these areas emphasizing that this budget proposal is a road map to King County’s values – prioritizing investments in communities and populations farthest from opportunity, access, and justice, in order to ensure that King County is making a welcoming community where every person can thrive.
Investing in our environment
“Investing in solutions to the climate crisis is our responsibility to the communities we serve, and to the generations that will follow. We must do everything we can, as soon as we can.”
- Converting Metro’s bus fleet to zero-emissions: $180 million to purchase battery-electric buses and $43 million in zero-emissions infrastructure to ensure that Metro’s 1,400 coach bus fleet is zero emissions by 2035.
- Restoring fish habitat: $28.5 million in capital investments to remove blockages to fish passage habitat. King County will restore access to 50 percent of fish passage habitat by 2032.
- Expanding access to heat pumps and solar panels: $1 million to expand the Energize pilot program, which installs high-efficiency heat pumps in homes occupied by residents with low and moderate incomes in White Center and Skyway, to include solar panels. The County will also invest $1.9 million to provide private lenders with more flexibility to offer better financing options to higher-risk homeowners for home upgrades that also improve the environment.
- Other budget proposals (PDF)
Affordable Housing & Homelessness
“This is not a radical idea, but let me say it again: For people to get off the street, they must have somewhere to go.”
- Building affordable housing near transit: $45 million in bonds backed by lodging tax revenues will be issued in 2023 to fund affordable housing near transit stations.
- Supporting housing operations: Up to $30 million to fund operations, maintenance, and services for existing and new supportive housing sites.
- Make homelessness rare, one-time, and brief by supporting the King County Regional Homelessness Authority: $96 million to continue funding a coordinated crisis response to homelessness led by the King County Regional Homelessness Authority.
- Other budget proposals (PDF)
Justice & Safety
“Having a home is critical to the sense of security everyone deserves. But as we know, that need extends beyond the front door, into our communities. Each of us needs to know that, if we call for help, the right person, with the right training and skills, will be there to provide it.”
- Preventing Gun Violence: $9 million to support 52 Regional Peacekeepers Collective, trusted messengers delivering a community-led approach to gun violence prevention including critical incident response, hospital-based referrals, and hot spot remediation activities.
- Ensuring safety for transit riders and staff: $21 million to support 140 Metro transit security officers providing support and visibility on Metro buses, transit centers, and stops. An additional $5.1 million will support Metro SaFE Reform Initiatives, including a new partnership with the Department of Community and Human Services and community-based organizations to connect people in crisis on and near Metro transit with resources and services.
- Implementing body-worn cameras: $5 million to provide all Sheriff patrol deputies with body-worn cameras. Deployment of cameras and associated training will begin immediately and phased in over the next three years.
- Expanding treatment programs for people in or being released from King County jails: $6.3 million to maintain and expand jail-based opioid treatment programs and services for people being released from the jail with substance use disorder or other behavioral health conditions.
- Other budget proposals (PDF)
Anti-Racism & Pro-Equity
“This budget is a reflection of our values. It prioritizes investments in communities and populations furthest from opportunity, access, and justice, to ensure we can meet our True North of making this a welcoming community where every person can thrive.”
- Funding participatory budgeting: $10 million for a second round of participatory budgeting for residents of urban unincorporated King County. The first round of participatory budgeting concluded successfully in August 2022, with residents selecting 45 capital projects to fund in their communities.
- Supporting community-led diversion programs: $11.9 million to continue the Restorative Community Pathways program and the Community Diversion Program to provide community-based accountability and services for youth and adults outside the court system.
- Vacating drug convictions: $2 million to community groups to build awareness about options to vacate drug convictions and provide services that address the needs of individuals affected by the collateral consequences of contacts with the criminal system and drug convictions, such as persistent barriers to housing and employment.
- Other budget proposals (PDF)
“Last month I stood alongside councilmembers, regional officials, law enforcement, and providers to announce a coalition to craft a new approach to behavioral health in King County. Our work over the past month confirmed a few things – inaction is not an option, the elements of the solution already exist, and improving our behavioral health crisis system benefits much of the rest of our work, from public safety to public health to homelessness.”
- As a part of this budget package, Executive Constantine is transmitting a proposal for a new levy to fund behavioral health and pending passage by the King County Council will be presented to voters for their approval this spring.
- Over the next nine years, King County will invest, build, and transform the way people in our community care for one another.
- The Crisis Care Centers levy would make a generational investment of nearly $1.25 billion to:
- Create a network of 5 crisis centers
- Stop the loss and expand by nearly half the number of residential treatment beds
- Deploy more services even before the new centers open, and
- Recruit and retain an outstanding and representative workforce to serve the people of King County.
The proposed budget has been transmitted to the King County Council, which will begin holding bearings in October with final passage in November.
“This budget is a down payment on the future we deserve; an investment in all the possibilities we want for one another and for our beautiful region,” said Executive Constantine in his address. “Together, we can take on the extraordinary challenges of this time, and build the home we all want – that welcoming community – with the unity, focus, and fortitude to overcome the momentary hurdles, and unlock tomorrow’s promise.”
“I greatly appreciate the thought, care, and diligence it took the Executive, and the entire county administration, to build a budget that moves our region forward after an incredibly challenging time," said King County Council Budget Committee Chair Joe McDermott. "The Council’s Budget Committee is looking forward to a robust and collaborative process to ensure we are investing in an equitable recovery, and put our county on a path to thrive in the coming years.”
- King County 2023 – 2024 Proposed Biennial Budget Summary
- Environment Budget Highlights
- Affordable Housing & Homelessness Budget Highlights
- Justice & Safety Budget Highlights
- Anti-Racism & Pro-Equity Budget Highlights
- Behavioral Health: Crisis Care Centers Levy Proposal
This budget is a down payment on the future we deserve; an investment in all the possibilities we want for one another and for our beautiful region. Together, we can take on the extraordinary challenges of this time, and build the home we all want – that welcoming community – with the unity, focus, and fortitude to overcome the momentary hurdles, and unlock tomorrow’s promise.
I greatly appreciate the thought, care, and diligence it took the Executive, and the entire county administration, to build a budget that moves our region forward after an incredibly challenging time. The Council’s Budget Committee is looking forward to a robust and collaborative process to ensure we are investing in an equitable recovery, and put our county on a path to thrive in the coming years.
For more information, contact:
Chase Gallagher, Executive Office, 206-263-8537