Industry News

Legislative Update - Special Session wraps at budget impasse

Fri, 29 May 2015 12:09:00 -0900

After 30 days of posturing and negotiating in both the halls of the Legislative Building and in media across the state, the Democrats and Republicans arrived at the deadline for the 1st Special Legislative Session without an operating budget to send to the governor. Governor Inslee and the Democrat led House continue to demand additional revenue in the form of a new tax, while the Majority Coalition Caucus in the Senate reject any tax increases and have voted out of the Senate yet another budget proposal that needs no additional revenue. Last weeks economic forecast found $400 million in additional income over the next two years, which has brought the gap between Democrat and Republican budgets closer. But Democrats still claim a need for new money to maintain current programs and fund education, and are specifically pointing to a new state capital gains tax as the pathway to a budget agreement.

Governor Inlsee has scolded the legislature for its inaction, and has pledged to have budget negotiations moved to his office beginning on the first day of the 2nd Special Session. The governor has been unsuccessful in his previous motivation strategy of brining in leadership from both parties, presenting a set of demands, and closing debate on the matter. The legislature was able to pass a $7.6 Billion transportation-funding bill that will maintain current transportation projects, but they have not come to an agreement on a funding bill for new projects. The intensity and acrimony will likely increase over the next several days and possibly weeks as the 2nd Special Session moves further towards government shutdown deadlines.