With Budget Changes, Walker Boosts Ferry, Community Jails Funding

With Wednesday’s deadline for changes, Gov. Bill Walker has sent his final amendments to the capital and operating budget to the Legislature.

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The governor partially restored funding for community jails. While Walker had initially cut the program entirely, the amended budget includes $7 million for their operation. The budget also shuffles $6 million in highway funding to the ferry system to cover already scheduled services. Walker also added a $9 million capital appropriation for homelessness programs, and he cut $20 million from Medicaid based on anticipated savings through expansion of the program.

The changes also include a contingency provision that would allow the governor the discretion to transfer some funds between departments “to mitigate the unexpected consequence of budget cutting.”

The net change from the last version of his budget is an increase of $350,000. The current budget spends $5.5 billion from the state’s unrestricted general fund.