Dear Friends and Neighbors,
The Legislature is headed for a second special session that begins today. After a 105-day regular session and a 30-day special session, budget negotiators from the governor's office, House Democrats and the Senate have not yet reached an agreement.
While this is frustrating to say the least, what's even more frustrating is the “tone and tenor” coming from our governor. Yesterday, during a “five corners” meeting (all four caucuses and the governor's office), the governor seemed to be onboard and progress was being made. There was movement in the budget negotiations and our budget leader was hopeful we'd see an agreement in the next few days.
But…by late morning yesterday, everything changed. The governor held a press conference announcing another special session would be needed. But instead of showing leadership and urging lawmakers to cooperate, he used his time in the spotlight to bring his Washington D.C. politics to Olympia. He criticized the Senate Majority Coalition Caucus, blaming them for everything under the sun. He brought extreme partisan politics into the budget negotiations and he did it through the press. This doesn't work well in this Washington. I know he's spent 15 years in Congress where not much gets accomplished and you can always blame the other guy, but he should have left that strategy in D.C.
In fact, here's a quote from Democrat Representative Jim Moeller in today's Vancouver Columbian:
“Moeller said during his time as a legislator, he's never seen lawmakers come this close to a government shutdown. Moeller, first elected to the House in 2002, said it seems as if 'the dysfunctions of Washington, D.C., have been imported to Washington state.'” – The Vancouver Columbian, 6/11/13
I couldn't agree more. Governor Inslee should have left that dysfunction in Washington, D.C.
If you'd like to see the governor's press conference for yourself, click here.
As I've said before in previous updates, the budget negotiations center around one thing: there is a group in Olympia that doesn't think that $2 billion in new revenue for the next budget is enough. They want to raise taxes. Then, there is a group (which includes me) that wants the state to live within its means. That's it. That what the previous and current special sessions are all about.
I hope to be able to update you with numbers and facts in my next e-newsletter. For now, please know that I'm trying to insert your thoughts and concerns into the budget talk as much as I can. Thanks for reading my updates. Until next time…