WSALPHO was pleased that the governor continues to show support for public health, recognizing the importance of keeping our populations healthy is vital for creating thriving communities. The governor’s budget included funding support for several key issues.

First, estimated revenue from vapor tax revenue will be woefully insufficient to cover the Foundational Public Health Services (FPHS) account appropriation in the 2019-2021 biennium. This is in large part to the State Board of Health emergency ban on flavored vapor products in response to lung disease associated with vaping and the increased use and access to vapor products by youth.

The governor’s budget accounts for this underestimated by backfilling the FPHS account shortfall through the general fund.  His proposal includes $10 M to the FPHS account that would be on-going; sustaining current FPHS work at state, local, and tribal levels.

Second, in anticipation of the passage of governor request legislation on flavored vaping products, the budget also includes $1M to support young adult cessation programs and $1.7 M to establish a vapor regulation program.

Third, the budget also includes additional support to further implement the Washington State Suicide Prevention Plan. This plan outlines several state and local strategies to reduce suicide rates across Washington State, especially among populations high higher rates of suicide. The $2M that was included in the budget would include state coordination and opportunities to implement local programs. In addition, a pilot program focused on preventing suicides in the agricultural industry would be funded.

However, a key issue for local public health was not included in the governor’s budget. Funding for Group B water systems (a request of $492,000) yet again did not make the list of governor priorities. State funding is critical for local programs to operate effectively across the state. Approximately 13,400 Group B systems receive assistance and oversight from local health jurisdictions to provide safe and reliable drinking water.

Can’t get enough of the Governor’s Budget? Check here to learn more about how the Governor’s proposed budget affects different areas of county government.