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Budget deal expected as talks continue over final details

OLYMPIA — A day after Gov. Jay Inslee said a long-awaited budget deal was “imminent,” state legislative leaders still hadn’t finalized an agreement Tuesday.

“We have a broad conceptual agreement, but we need to get these details right and work through those issues,” Senate Majority Leader Rodney Tom said late Tuesday afternoon.  “Everybody’s working in a very cooperative manner, so I expect that to continue and for us to be able to finish up here shortly.”

Tom said it was important to make sure everything was thoroughly worked out.  “When we shake, there’s no going back,” he said.

Rep. Reuven Carlyle, D-Seattle, chairman of the House Revenue Committee, also expressed a desire to make sure all the details are worked out when he spoke on Tuesday afternoon.

“We’re a large state with a lot of investment in education, other programs,” Carlyle said. “We have to do a lot of paper work as well.  So, we’re hoping to get a handshake.  It’s imminent, as the governor said, but we’re not quite there.”

But many, including legislators, remain frustrated a deal still hasn’t been reached.

“We should have been done by June 1,” said Sen. David Frockt, D-Seattle. “We should have a rule moving forward that we get done by June 1.  Period.”

For Frockt, taking budget negotiations all the way to final days of the fiscal year unnecessarily runs the risk of a government shutdown, which would affect thousands of state workers, state services, and state open spaces.

“People start to feel it,” Frockt said. “They go to their state park and it’s closed and they want to go camping for the Fourth of July weekend, that is going to crystalize in people’s minds that these are services that your state is providing and that we’re not getting the work done. That doesn’t help anybody.”

As of 6 p.m. Tuesday, there was still no formal handshake on a budget deal. However, all leaders continue to make it clear that a shutdown won’t occur next week.

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