Notes From Olympia: July 22
In this Week’s Notes from Olympia: the Beginning of the State Fiscal Year 2022
Happy State Fiscal Year 2022!
It is tough to believe it has been nearly three months since the Legislature adjourned Sine Die. With the start of a new state fiscal year and the work underway to implement both the Fair Start for Kids Act and federal COVID-related supports, we thought it would be helpful to resume “Notes from Olympia” periodically during the legislative interim to share updates. Unlike during the legislative session, we will not have a regular cadence of releasing the updates.
OK, OK. I admit this does not meet the definition of trivia, but I am admittedly out of practice.
Is there a place you frequented – so often you took it for granted – and the pandemic kept you from visiting? Maybe it was your office or a favorite neighborhood restaurant. How did it feel when (if?) you returned?
For me, that place was the State Capitol. I was able to take my “first” work trip in late June and thoroughly enjoyed strolling through the Capitol campus. While the buildings were not yet open when I visited, I took in all the beautiful new landscape and wandered through the campus that we quickly left on March 13, 2020. I thought I would share these pictures because it was so lovely (hats off to the landscaping team there). Hopefully, the place will be safely filled with people again for the 2022 legislative session.
State Revenue Update
On June 23rd, the State Economic Revenue and Forecast Council met to get an update on the state’s revenue outlook. Revenue continues to exceed projections, with an additional $838 million expected for the 2019-21 biennium that just concluded on June 30th and an additional $1.798 billion expected for the 2021-23 biennium that we just began on July 1st.
Personal income growth continues to exceed projections, and residential building permits hit a 42 year high in quarter one. Unemployed dropped to 5.3% in May. COVID and the variants continue to be the most significant risk to our revenue forecast, along with high inflation and supply chain issues in some sectors.
Our state agency partners are busy working to implement the significant budget and policy advancements achieved during the 2021 legislative session. Following are updates on the status of some key initiatives:
Early Learning Facility Funding Opportunity to Open Fall 2021. As a reminder, the adopted state budget included a total of $55.7 million for early learning facilities. This includes a total of $32.5 million in grants and loans; $10 million for minor renovations and small capital projects; $8.5 million for renovations related to COVID; and $4.7 million for 9 specific school district projects. Of the $32.5 million for grants and loans, the dollars break down as: $23.911 million in competitive grants, $7.5 million for loans and $1.089 million for 4 specific projects.
The Department of Commerce released a status update about these funds on July 8th. The email reminded that funding could be used for construction, renovation, or purchase of a new facility. Funds must be used to expand the number of early learning spaces, and programs must also commit to reserving spots for families participating in ECEAP or Working Connections Child Care. The email reported the Notice of Funding Availability would be available shortly and interested potential applicants are encouraged to visit the Commerce website for additional information. Further, because the Early Learning Facilities program has a match goal of at least 25% of total costs coming from non-state funds, potential applicants are also encouraged to start looking into match opportunities now. Note the website has an option to sign up for email updates on the lower right of the webpage.
Home Visiting Expansion Funding
The 2021-23 operating budget contains $8.1 million ($2.8 million in FY 22 and $5.3 million in FY 23) to expand home visiting services, enhance data collection and increase supports for home visiting programs.
After consultation with the Home Visiting Advisory Committee, the Department of Children, Youth and Families released their FY 22 expansion funding plans. Twenty-five existing contractors that met performance metrics around enrollment and retention were invited to apply to serve up to 150 new families. Applications are due August 10th, and per budget bill language, contracts must be in place by October 1, 2021.
Additional expansion dollars will be available as of July 1, 2022, and guidance for those dollars will be released in early 2022.
Federal Guidance on One-Time Child Care and Development Funds Released. On June 11th, the federal Administration for Children and Families released guidance on the use of Supplemental Child Care and Development (CCDF) Discretionary Funds appropriated through the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) of 2021.
These supplemental federal dollars are intended to be used over the next three years to help states, territories, and tribes build a stronger child care system and help families afford quality child care. The federal guidance strongly recommends lead agencies prioritize these funds to address provider payment rates and overall workforce compensation. The guidance posits that increasing compensation will increase quality and provide parents more options while also increasing wages and providing supports for child care as businesses.
Lead agencies have until September 30, 2023, to obligate these funds. The Washington State Legislature programmed much of our state’s supplemental CCDF funding in its 2021-23 biennial budget.
DCYF Launches Fair Start Act Webpage. Recently, DCYF launched a section on its website dedicated to Fair Start for Kids Act implementation. The site is a “one-stop-shop” for a summary of the Fair Start Act provisions and updates on DCYF’s implementation efforts. DCYF will regularly update the site.
Start Early Washington is very excited to welcome Jess Galvez to our team as the Communications and Policy Manager. Jess comes to us from Save the Children Action Network and brings a breadth of experience in early learning, communications, grassroots organizing, and so much more. We are thrilled to have her as a valued member of our team. One of her top priorities is to get Start Early Washington’s social media presence going – so look for us on Twitter soon!
Capital Campus Child Care Center Nearing Completion
On my walking tour, I took in the Capital Campus Child Care Center that is close to opening to serve families of Capitol and state employees. (You can see how close the center is to campus by the proximity of the Capitol dome in the upper left of the picture below).
About the Author
Director, Policy & Advocacy, Start Early Washington
Erica Hallock serves as the Director of Policy and Advocacy for Start Early Washington. She has worked in early childhood, health and human services policy in both California and Washington state.More About Erica