It’s nearly state budget time again, and we invite you to join us in making sure that preservation stays front and center in our state’s priorities!

As you know, Washington State’s budget process occurs every two years. The 2023-2025 state budget will be finalized by the legislature next spring during the next legislative session. But that process starts now, with Governor Inslee’s proposed state budget which will be announced in December.

Here are a few issues we’re keeping our eyes on:

  • Ongoing support for the Department of Archaeology & Historic Preservation’s four capital grants programs: the Heritage Barn Initiative (DAHP’s ask: $1 million in funding), Historic County Courthouse Grant Program (ask: $4.76 million to fund rehab projects at 10 county courthouses across the state), Historic Cemetery Grant Program (ask: $515,000), and Historic Theater Grant Program (ask: $515,000). Together, these grants have created hundreds of local jobs and spurred millions in private investment while saving historic structures across the state.
  • Ongoing funding to DAHP’s Washington State Main Street Program, ensuring the increased services and resources provided to the expanded number of communities participating in the Main Street network in the wake of the pandemic can be maintained. DAHP’s ask is for $700,000 above maintenance level funding—which equals the amount the program received in the current 2021-2023 state budget.
  • Ongoing support for the Washington State Historical Society’s Heritage Capital Project Fund, which provides grants to facilities that provide public access to history. (ask: $10 million in funding to continue their grantmaking activity.)

Want to make your voice heard? We’ll keep you in the loop on ways you can help advocate for these important preservation programs in the months to come, but that advocacy starts now. Contact Governor Inslee and let him know that you want to see these programs fully funded in his 2023-2025 state budget.

For your convenience, here is a letter template that you can use to contact Governor Inslee:

I am writing to urge Governor Inslee to prioritize preservation in his draft state budget for the 2023-2025 biennium. It is critical that our state preserve its historic and cultural places for future generations.

Towards that aim, I ask the governor to include in his proposed budget full funding as requested for the Department of Archaeology & Historic Preservation’s four capital grant programs (supporting preservation of historic barns, county courthouses, cemeteries, and theaters) and the agency’s Washington State Main Street Program, along with full funding of the Washington State Historical Society’s Heritage Capital Project Grant Program. These programs create jobs, support the economic vitality of towns and cities across the state, and preserve Washington’s historic and cultural sites, and they deserve not only inclusion but priority in the governor’s budget for the upcoming cycle.

Thank you,

[Please feel free to personalize your letter any way you see fit.]

Photo above: The Garland Theater in Spokane received a 2021-2023 grant in the inaugural round of funding for the Historic Theater Grant Program. Photo courtesy of Visit Spokane.