After 90 nearly consecutive days of activity in the Washington State Legislature, lawmakers finally came to an agreement early Wednesday morning that led to the passage of a balanced, sustainable state budget. The reforms our Senate bipartisan coalition was able to get into the final version of the budget made the grueling extra effort worthwhile.
With these reforms, we all but ensure that we won’t be back here in January facing another billion-dollar budget deficit. We could have settled for less just to get out of Olympia a month ago, but in the end it would have left state taxpayers with a perennial budget deficit. The Senate coalition was steadfast in its belief that enough was enough, and fortunately we were able to stick to our guns on this one. Continue reading →
The 2012 regular legislative session ended March 8, but unfortunately the Legislature was not able to accomplish its primary task of passing a balanced budget. On day 54 of the 60-day session, the Senate still had not voted on a plan to fill the state’s $1.1 billion budget hole. While the House majority had passed its budget plan, the Senate Ways and Means Committee chairman’s plan did not have enough votes to get out of the committee. Until each chamber has put forth a budget to start negotiations, the Legislature can’t move forward. Continue reading →
The $2-billion-deficit budget that the House proposed on the last day of the regular session was a non-starter for the bipartisan Senate coalition committed to reform. We presented a responsible, sustainable budget from which we could have begun negotiations. The majority in the House, however, chose not to even allow their budget negotiators to the table to talk.
On March 15,the bipartisan coalition in the Senate once again attempted to break the budget stalemate with a revised version of our original reform budget. It was the first compromise proposal of the special session (you can watch the news conference at this link). Our hope was that it would encourage negotiations and get the budget process moving. Continue reading →