As we continue focusing on saving lives during the COVID-19 crisis, we also need to look to the future on how life will resume afterward. We do not want to come out of this crisis economically devastated. The key to a strong recovery is limiting the damage done now. It is vital that we do all we can now to “flatten the curve” as they say, and to stop the spread of coronavirus.
Making reasonable economic decisions right now, in conjunction with life-saving measures, is not putting money before people. It is recognizing that our economy has human impacts, particularly on the most vulnerable who depend on services the state budget provides. You are counting on us as lawmakers to keep an eye on the big picture throughout this crisis.
Last week, Governor Inslee cut $445 million in spending over the next three years due to the economic fallout of the coronavirus outbreak. While I commend the governor for his fiscal responsibility and agree that these cuts were necessary, I am disappointed that items I fought for were cut from this supplemental budget. They included adding a full-body scanner to the Monroe Correctional Complex and an additional scanner at the Purdy Women’s Facility to increase contraband and drug detection. Our district also lost funding for an elk fencing project to provide safety for the students of the Concrete School District. I am hopeful these items will be restored in future years when the coronavirus is behind us.