Laws and ideas only work if they are funded and fully implemented. That’s why WEC provides leadership within the environmental community in advancing strategic, responsible, and effective budget solutions. Environmental programs are a small fraction of Washington’s overall state budget – less than 1% of the state’s General Fund spending – but the benefits of investing in a healthy environment are massive and range from protecting public health to job creation to sustaining a high quality of life for years to come.
Over the years, WEC has worked with the Environmental Priorities Coalition and many other partners to secure funding for science-based review of forest management practices, ocean acidification programs, climate research, and strong oversight of environmental laws. We have also successfully defended critical programs, protected voter-approved funding sources like the Model Toxics Control Act (MTCA) that clean up and prevent pollution, and exposed budget slight of hands that jeopardize reaching our long-term goals of a clean and safe environment for all.
In addition to funding essential programs and services, WEC strives to find solutions for reforming our flawed revenue system. Washington’s tax system is the most regressive in the nation, which means that it unfairly imposes a steeper tax burden on the poor and middle class. WEC is working to change this inequitable approach through closing outdated tax loopholes and creating new funding approaches that puts costs on polluters – not people – to address the threats to our environment.
WEC has also worked with partners including labor unions, local governments, and businesses to secure more than $600 million capital funding for projects that improve environmental health and provide benefits to local communities. For example, WEC worked with state leaders and local government representatives to create a grant program to fund proven green infrastructure solutions that reduce toxic stormwater runoff. The Stormwater Financial Assistance Program is a game changer in addressing the state’s largest source of water pollution – existing roads, rooftops, parking lots, and other infrastructure. The program objectively reviews and prioritizes projects to ensure that only the most effective projects get funding, and it is designed to encourage innovative funding partnerships and strategies to maximize the water quality benefits in all types of communities statewide.