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2017 legislative session set to end with no deal on education yet again

OLYMPIA, Wash. — The 2017’s legislative session will end with no decision on education.

After years of debate on the issue, some say the tension between Democrats and Republicans is only getting worse.

“I am doing everything I can humanely imagine to do short of water boarding to get these folks to negotiate but the Republicans have refused,” Democratic Gov. Jay Inslee said.

“The only reason why we are going into a special session, I think, is because the Democrats have spent so much time
telling their supporters that there are such dire consequences, although we have $3 billion more to spend,” Republican state Sen. Dino Rossi said.

Right now Democrats and Republicans are making progress on how to fully fund public education but they are getting nowhere on the entire state budget.

“We can’t do one without the other,” Inslee said.

With the exception of property taxes, Republicans want nothing to do with increasing taxes.

“We proved with our budget that we don’t have to punish the public with higher taxes,” Rossi said.

The Democrats say they need to increase the Business and Occupational tax generating more money from some businesses. They also want to create a carbon and capital gains tax.

“In the end, property tax will be part of the solution; there should be something along with that,” Democratic state Rep. Pat Sullivan said.

Sullivan says House Democrats have been clamoring for Senate Republicans to negotiate.

“We are trying to act like adults. We have made numerous attempts to get them to the table to negotiate,” Sullivan said.

“It’s like your child comes to you a month before Christmas, says this is my wish list, it’s all 1,000 items you see in Toys R Us,” Republican Sen. Mark Miloscia said.

Miloscia says Senate Republicans cannot negotiate on a budget plan that House Democrats couldn’t even pass in their own chamber.

“It’s an open secret here that they don’t have the votes today, next week, next month to ever pass their three huge tax increases,” Miloscia said.

As the tension mounts, the governor is calling for yet another special session.

“They look at it like recreation, sitting in the sun, fishing -- this is serious business,” Inslee said.

Despite the gridlock, Rossi says lawmakers will eventually reach a deal.

Lawmakers have until June 30 to agree on a new state budget or they risk a government shutdown.