Inslee sends lawmakers back to drawing board for budget

Gov. Jay Inslee is asking House and Senate budget writers to renew negotiations in earnest as early as Tuesday in hopes of making substantial progress on a deal before lawmakers return for a special session.

Gov. Jay Inslee is asking House and Senate budget writers to renew negotiations in earnest as early as Tuesday in hopes of making substantial progress on a deal before lawmakers return for a special session.

“We are working to see if we can get that scheduled,” said David Postman, Inslee’s executive director of communications. “This allows time for good work to be done before the start of special session.”

Inslee wants to see representatives of the Republican and Democratic caucuses in each chamber get back on the negotiating schedule they had at the end of regular session, Postman said.

It’s possible that the governor could be involved in the talks this week, he added.

The special session will start next Monday at 9 a.m. and can last up to 30 days.

When the regular session ended on April 28, Inslee said he’d use the two-week break to push the House and Senate leaders closer to a budget accord.

“We will insist on, and I am confident, we will have vigorous work in the next two weeks,” Inslee said following the adjournment of regular session.

Most of the “vigorous work” last week did not involve legislators, but rather the budget writing staffs of the governor’s office and the two chambers.

Those individuals spent hours delving into and clarifying the rationale for some of the most disputed assumptions on which the Senate and House budgets are based.

For example, they examined the Senate assumption of $127 million in savings from steering part-time workers for public schools and state agencies into federally funded health care exchanges.

House Democrats contend that the Senate counts on too big a savings since it’s unclear if any workers will want to make the jump. The budget staff members sought to clarify how the figure came to be, a move which may assist lawmakers in negotiating on the policy.

There were several such issues with wrinkles to be ironed out, a spokesman for the governor’s budget office said.

Entering the special session, the House has passed a budget that spends roughly $1.1 billion more than one approved by the Senate. The difference is the amount of money that House Democrats want to raise by extending an expiring business tax and eliminating tax exemptions, two moves opposed by the Senate Majority Coalition. Inslee is siding with Democrats on taxes.

Budget isn’t the only topic that the governor and lawmakers intend to address in overtime. Inslee has said he wants the Legislature to pass a plan for raising billions of dollars for transportation improvements and enact a slate of school reforms. He also wants votes taken on controversial bills dealing with abortion insurance coverage, college financial aid for undocumented immigrants and background checks on private gun sales.

He is confident that a bill to impose longer sentences on repeat drunken driving offenders will be passed.

The Daily Herald is a sister publication of the Mercer Island Reporter.


More in News

Sen. Mona Das, D-Kent, the primary sponsor of SB 5323, speaking on the bill. (Photo courtesy of Hannah Sabio-Howell)
Proposed law adds a fee to plastic bags at checkout

Senate passes bill to ban single-use plastic bags, place 8-cent fee on reusable plastic bags.

Development has encroached on the East Lake Sammamish Trail (at right). Joe Livarchik/file photo
King County files lawsuit to finish East Lake Sammamish Trail

Homeowners have until September to remove buildings and other property from the right of way.

Bellevue residents Marko and Karla Ilicic play a hockey game in the Topgolf Swing Suite inside Forum Social House. Natalie DeFord/staff photo
Forum Social House opens in Bellevue

Eastside gets new nightclub, mini golf, swing suites.

In November 2019, Washington voters approved Initiative 976, which calls for $30 car tabs. Sound Publishing file photo
Republicans try to guarantee $30 car tabs amid court hangup

Lawmakers sponsor companion bills in the House and Senate.

King County Metro’s battery-electric bus. Photo courtesy of
King County could bump up Metro electrification deadlines

Transportation generates nearly half of all greenhouse gas emissions in the state.

Sound Transit station. File photo
Construction on Eastside-related light rail project begins

Travelers should expect delays until March.

The Mercer Island Chamber of Commerce presents the 2019 Business of the Year Award to Covenant Living at the Shores (CLS). From left: CLS’s Bob Bowen, Chamber of Commerce Board President Suzanne Skone, CLS Associate Executive Director Marykay Duran, CLS’s Leslie McGee, CLS Sales Director Nancy Woo, and Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Laurie Givan. Courtesy photo.
Chamber names Mercer Island Business of the Year

2019 award goes to Covenant Living at the Shores.

Photo courtesy of
                                Effie Parks started a podcast about raising children with disabilities.
Mercer Island mom creates podcast about raising children with disabilities

Effie Parks launched the “Once Upon a Gene” podcast last October.

Gov. Jay Inslee delivered his 2020 State of the State Address on Tuesday, Jan. 14. (Photo courtesy of Washington State Office of the Governor)
Gov. Inslee delivers State of the State Address

By Leona Vaughn, WNPA News Service OLYMPIA — Gov. Jay Inslee stood… Continue reading

Most Read