Governor Inslee released his proposals for the 21-23 biennium budget that the Legislature will be working on as they begin their annual session on January 11th. For the first time in state history, Governor Inslee directed state agencies to center budgetary packages and legislation proposals around equity. Through this direction, the Governor is putting agencies on a path to begin the process of dismantling inequities in our systems and institutions, committing to a better life for all.
The Governor’s Equity Proposals include a broad range of topics, such as establishing Juneteenth as a legal holiday, funding for the Office of Equity to include 8 staff members, additional grant opportunities for businesses, and more available here: An historic commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion (wa.gov). You can also access a full list of the Governor's proposals and a breakdown of agency recommendations on the Office of Financial Management’s website.
We know that only a long-term, sustained, broad-reaching effort can break down systemic barriers and undo the historic marginalization of under-represented communities. While there is much work to do and this group of proposals will not correct all issues overnight, it can help set Washington State on the right path for equity. It is inspiring to be counted among these meaningful measures that will continue moving the needle, and it recognizes equity in public contracting and procurement has a role to play in overall equity for Washingtonians.