Budget writers met this week for two days of budget “briefings,” but have yet to resolve more than 1,000 differences between the budgets passed by the Democrat-controlled House and the Republican majority Senate, according to Democratic legislative leaders.
“Going through each section of the budget, going through where the differences are, where the decisions have to be made — that’s what is happening right now,” House Democratic Majority Leader Pat Sullivan told reporters on Thursday.
The Legislature began a 30-day special session on April 29 after adjourning regular session without a two-year operating budget in place.
House Speaker Frank Chopp said there remains “major differences” between the two budgets, highlighting a difference of $450 million more in the Democratic budget for K-12 basic education than the Republican approach.
Senate Republican Majority Leader Mark Schoesler said Democrats don’t have the money for the $450 million expenditure. “They can spend it, but they can’t pay for it,” he said at a Republican media availability.
Legislators on both sides of the aisle are pushing to get an early revenue forecast update to see if the state will collect more revenue.
Waiting for June 17, when the revenue forecast is scheduled to be released, is “just too late,” said Sen. Sharon Nelson, D-Maury Island. (more…)