Dear Friends and Neighbors,
I am in Olympia this weekend as the House and Senate Democrats try to come to an agreement on a budget and workers' compensation reforms. Despite working on only six bills Saturday, I remain hopeful that the Legislature can finish its business within the 30-day special session which ends Wednesday, May 25.
In addition to the much-needed workers' compensation reforms, there is also debate on our state's future debt limit. The Senate has passed legislation both during the regular session and again during the special session to reduce our state's debt limit from 9 percent of state revenues down to 7 percent of state revenues. Too much of our yearly budget expense goes toward paying our debt. I'd like to see this measure pass. It's part of getting our state budget on track and will help our economy in the long run. Here's an interesting editorial on the issue from the Seattle Times.
Yet, despite having the support of State Treasurer Jim McIntire (Democrat) and having passed the Senate unanimously during the regular session, once again, one man in the House has his foot on the bill: Rep. Hans Dunshee, who chairs the House Capital Budget Committee.
These are just a few of the major issues that are still being negotiated. If we can get a budget in front of us in the next 24 hours, we will still have a lot of work to do to be able to finish by day 30.
Again, I'm frustrated at the need for – and then the slow pace of – the special session. However, I'm optimistic that compromises will be made and the Legislature will finish its work this week. I'll keep you posted.