Gov. Inslee wants $100 million more to eradicate freeway encampments

Gov. Jay Inslee proposes spending an additional $100 million to clean up freeway encampments on state rights of way.

“I believe in Santa Claus, but he’s not going to solve this problem,” Inslee stated at a press conference Thursday afternoon to announce his proposed supplemental budget.

Nonetheless, he appears to be aware of the harsh criticism leveled at the state’s reaction, despite the fact that it has already spent $143 million on the matter in the previous year.

“Sometimes when you talk about budgets, the numbers seem to be more important at times to the actual reality of what we’re doing in people’s lives,” Inslee added. “We’re not building pyramids here, but we are building lives.”

Having said that, the Governor argued that the state had eliminated 30 unsafe encampments with existing finances and housed over 1000 people. Despite this, according to the Department of Commerce website, which has been tracking spending and outcomes, only 149 people have successfully exited homelessness as a result of the program. That equates to nearly $1 million per person.

Gov. Inslee wants $100 million more to eradicate freeway encampments

The suggestion riled Inslee. “For one thing, it’s changing people’s lives. I’m not sure if you’re concerned about these people, but we are. These are people’s brothers and sisters; they have an issue, and we assist them in solving it. It is worthwhile to save lives.”

The policy has also been highly criticized in locations such as King County, where 14 fires were started on state right of way in 2023 before the state intervened. There had been months of problems on Myers Way and along I-5 in North Seattle.

Inslee went to both locations after homeowners complained about criminal activities and trash. However, he stated that the figures also include investment in housing and roadway mitigation, which involves placing enormous rocks where tents had stood.

“I’ll tell you what, if we don’t get the money, we’re not going to be able to do it.” If we do not have the funds. “We don’t have indentured servants who can order people to pick up trash on the freeway for free,” Inslee explained.

“That place in Dearborn, if we’d had twice as much money last session in the legislature than we got, we might have been able to do the Dearborn earlier because we have enough staff to do it.”

Gov. Inslee wants $100 million more to eradicate freeway encampments

Following the presentation, House and Senate Republicans issued remarks that did not oppose more cleanup funding. They were quick, however, to critique Inslee’s spending request and usage of the cap-and-trade program, as well as the impact on gas costs.

“The good news is that the governor isn’t proposing any new taxes,” wrote State Senator Lynda Wilson of Vancouver, the Senate Ways and Means Committee’s ranking Republican.

“The bad news is that the taxes he has already enacted continue to fuel the state’s rapid growth in spending.” Washington’s new capital gains tax and the Climate Commitment Act’s “hidden gas tax” have enabled the governor to more than treble state expenditure in the decade he has been in office.”

Budgets are about funding policies that improve the lives of Washington families, not spending every dollar on more bureaucracy just because you can,” wrote House Republican Budget Lead Chris Corry of Yakima. House Republicans support students over wealthy-only subsidies. We favor tax reform that lowers the costs placed on working families. And we will continue to devote our time and attention to addressing issues that are most important to the people of our state.”

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.