A roundup of early reviews of the legislative session

From the Associated Press

Speaking after lawmakers finished their work Friday, Inslee acknowledged the months-long slog to get a budget.

“This was a tough session, but it has produced some darn good results,” Inslee said.

The governor cited money for early learning, K-12 education, parks and raises for public employees as budget items he was proud of.

Robert Mak reviews the session with a pair of analysts on Crosscut. 

Jim Camden covers the highlights and looks ahead in the Spokesman-Review.

The state expanded mental health care, early learning programs for preschool children, mentor programs for teachers and help for homeless youth. Republicans were happy that was accomplished without new taxes; Inslee said the budget did require new revenue, primarily from an improving economy and job growth.

The new revenue from existing taxes meant Inslee and some Democrats could put aside their call for a capital gains tax, although it could come up in the future as the Legislature wrestles with problems with the property tax levy system.

…The package of highway, bridge, transit and ferry projects was regularly described as a jobs producer and has been on Inslee’s to-do list since taking office in 2013. Late last year he proposed a tax on carbon producers to help pay for it, rather than an increase in the gasoline tax, but gave up that stance as the session dragged into overtime.

He’s not giving up on a tax on carbon production that would help the environment, Inslee said, but unless Senate Republicans change their opposition or lose control of that chamber, it may require a citizens initiative to become law.

The Daily News editorial board likes the rail features of the transportation package.

The Legislature worked into triple overtime this year, but it did finally deliver our corner of Washington some great news: It committed the state to contributing $85 million to the Tennant Way/Industrial Way rail corridor project.

The importance of the action can’t overstated…Rail upgrades — vehicle overpasses, new tracks, new signaling and an additional bridge over the Cowlitz River — are essential to avoiding congestion and making the Port of Longview and other industrial property attractive to business investment that will create jobs and generate taxes.

More on the transportation package from the Puget Sound Regional Council.

Other closing comments from Crosscut, including a commentary on the state Supreme Court’s possible response.