The capital budget is the fund we use to make long-term investments in (mostly) physical things that are going to be around for a while. School construction, new buildings for colleges and universities, park acquisition, stuff like that. Just like your home mortgage, some of these investments are done on borrowed money.
The state constitution limits the amount of debt service that can be paid to 9% of “general state revenue,” so this puts a limit on the total that can be borrowed. I think this is a quite reasonable limitation.
There are useful investments in the budget passed this year, like hundreds of millions in new K-12 school construction funds. These are critical if we want to have the space needed for additional classrooms to accommodate smaller class sizes. There are also a number that are more fun, like a $1 million contribution to Bellevue’s “Imagination Playground”, a facility built to be accessible to all kids, especially including those with disabilities. It’s a project being spearheaded by the Bellevue Rotary. There are also contributions to two Boys and Girls club facilities in Bellevue – the new fieldhouse in Hidden Valley and the rebuild of the main clubhouse on 100th Ave. Kirkland gets some help building the cross-Kirkland corridor, and Redmond gets funding to complete the downtown park and help Hopelink with its integrated services center. You can see a map of these projects here.
Without contributions like these from the state, projects like these would be unaffordable by local governments and non-profits. I’m glad that we were able to pass a Capital Budget this year after fulfilling our constitutional obligation to fun McCleary and other social services.