Dear Friends and Neighbors,
The Legislature is now in an extended, or “special” session. House and Senate majority Democrats were unable to come to a budget agreement in the constitutionally-allotted 60-day session. As a result, Governor Gregoire has called a special session – at a cost of about $18,000 per-day – in order to decide which of your taxes they'll raise to close our state's $2.7 billion budget shortfall.
Here's part of an e-mail sent to me from Asotin County Sheriff Ken Bancroft when he read last week's e-newsletter about the expected daily cost of special session:
“Thanks for the update concerning the special session in your e-newsletter. What will be spent on the session after just five days would completely outfit one new deputy for my office with all equipment including a patrol car and pay his/her wages for 1 year – including overtime!”
And what do we have to show for this week's work? Here's a running tally of the work we did this week, taken from my notes:
Monday – 0 hours
Tuesday – 3 hours, 45 min. = on the House floor and voted on 16 bills, most of which had already passed the House during the regular session.
Wednesday – 1 hour, 42 min. = on the House floor; voted on a couple bills; spent literally hours waiting for the D's to come out from behind closed doors…waiting…waiting…waiting…
Thursday – 1 hour, 15 min. = in Ways and Means Committee
Friday – 12 min. (as of 5:00 p.m.)
GRAND TOTAL = 6 hours, 54 min. at a cost of around ($18,000 x 5) $90,000.
This has NOT been taxpayers' money well-spent. Every day we're here in Olympia is another example of the failed leadership of the majority party and the disconnect between legislative leaders and the public.