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No break in state budget impasse; 2nd special legislative session likely

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OLYMPIA -- The clock is ticking on the 30-day special session of the Legislature.  Lawmakers have until next Thursday to agree on a new $38 billion budget.

The months-long impasse has sparked recent walkouts by teachers and state employees.

On Thursday, there were more words of blame for who is responsible for the gridlock, and more talk that the governor will have to order another 30-day special session to get the job done.

“You can’t just shut down the conversation about revenue,” said Rep. Pat Sullivan, D-Covington, the House majority leader.

There is still about $500 million that separates Democrats and Republicans in this bitter standoff.  Democrats are pushing to increase taxes to raise teacher pay and public employee salaries.

“Let’s sit down, let’s go through the budgets, let’s see how you can move the state forward,” said Sullivan.  “You’ll clearly see that there is a need for additional resources to balance the budget.”

The new revenue being pushed by Democrats comes primarily from a capital gains tax on the wealthy and a hike in the state’s business tax.

Republicans continue to insist that the state can live within its means, especially since a new forecast earlier this week showed an additional $400 million coming into the state over the next two years from the improved economy.

“Existing state tax revenues are more than enough to fully fund education and make major investments in mental health, higher education and the social safety net,” said Sen. Andy Hill, R-Redmond, the GOP’s chief budget writer.  “Passing risky or harmful new taxes right now is simply not necessary.”

Most expect that the governor will have to call another 30-day session because of the stalled talks.

If lawmakers can’t agree on a new spending plan by July 1, the start of the state's new fiscal year, state government will be forced to shut down.

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14 comments

  • dg54321

    Typical. Democrats stomping their feet like children cause the meeeean Republicans want some actual fiscal responsibility in this state….what little even they ask for is too much to them.

    Enough is enough. Tighten your belts, Dems. Better yet, get out of the debate and let the adults work.

    • "peety"

      so you are in agreement that we should all pay more property tax as the GOP proposes or that the richest 7000 Washingtonians pay a little more tax as the Democrats propose?

      • dg54321

        Everything I’ve seen says that the GOP says they can balance the budget WITHOUT raising taxes, on anybody. Maybe because they understand fiscal responsibility a little better than tax-and-spend Democrats.

          • dg54321

            It’s cute that you think that. You’ve shown us your lack of understanding repeatedly here, no false assertions necessary.

          • dg54321

            That doesn’t even make sense. How do you “spend us into oblivion” when you won’t raise taxes to spend? And it’s obvious you’re mistaken about who spends the money in Olympia.

            Last I checked, WA state wasn’t waging any wars. But on a national level, it’s hilarious if you think the Dems aren’t as much warhawks as the RINOs. It seems you’re just clueless all around. Sure you aren’t from the same defective genetic stock as Petey?

  • Tattooed_Angel

    Un-freaking-believable! The headline is enough to make my blood boil. And all these morons just got a raise! I wish I got a raise for not doing my job!

  • "peety"

    thank you Democrats for trying to honor the will of the voter to reduce class sizes.

    Shame on Republicans for putting special interests above the needs of our children.