The newly-released Washington State Senate operating budget contains funding for several Pierce County priorities.
The highlights include State funding to build and operate a diversion center in Pierce County. The new center was a focal point of the Executive’s recent State of the County address. In it, Dammeier emphasized the need for a less costly and more effective alternative than jail or emergency room visits for those dealing with mental health or substance abuse issues.
These funds are in addition to the proposed $3 million over the biennium to fund what is referred to as “community clubhouse” style recovery resources across the state for those dealing with behavioral health issues.
“I’m very pleased to see the Senate proposing a strong partnership with the County as we strengthen our behavioral health system,” said Dammeier. “Our citizens are especially fortunate to have strong leadership from Senators Steve O’Ban and Jeannie Darneille on this important initiative.”
The Senate budget proposal also continues a commitment to expanding legal resources for Pierce County residents by investing in pre-law classes and support for the University of Washington Tacoma.
The proposed Senate budget also includes an effort to reform school finance by decreasing the unfair and inequitable over-reliance on local levies. A proposed reduction in local levies to $1.55 per $1,000 in assessed value would result in property tax reductions for most Pierce County property owners. At the same time, it is anticipated the increase in state funding will improve programs offered by our local schools.
“This proposal would both increase funding for Pierce County students while reducing local property taxes – finally ending the unfair school financing that penalized our citizens and students alike,” said Dammeier.
Libby Catalinich, Pierce County Communications Director