LEGISLATIVE UPDATE | June 21, 2017
Legislature heads into 3rd Special Session
By Trent House
STILL NO 2-YEAR BUDGET
The Legislature completed its second overtime session today and Governor Inslee immediately called lawmakers back into a third special session. Lawmakers still have not agreed on a new two-year budget for the fiscal year which begins July 1. If a deal isn't in place by midnight June 30, all non-essential state government services will shut down unless a short-term spending plan is put in place.
Governor Jay Inslee speaking at AFA's 11th Annual Governor's Aerospace Summit
However, Inslee has initially signaled that he would not sign a “stop-gap” to keep the government going past June 30 and has said lawmakers need to get finished by July 1st.
Budget writers have been locked down in negotiations between the House, Senate and the governor's office for weeks but still have a lot of ground to cover, specifically a two-year budget, satisfying the state Supreme Court's McCleary education funding ruling, the rural well-drilling issues created by the high court's Hirst ruling and a possible paid family leave act to prevent a more erroneous Labor sponsored initiative this Fall.
Yesterday, the State’s Economic Revenue and Forecast Council announced some good news, in that tax collections are up slightly. This information will be combined with news next week about state expenditures that should give lawmakers a clearer picture of how much money will be needed to balance the 2017-19 biennial budget. By most accounts, lawmakers remain several hundred million dollars apart on what is needed to fully fund government.