UPDATED: As lawmakers mark budget progress, impatience escalates

UPDATE The Associated Press says that reports of a budget deal were premature

Weekend reports confirm that budget negotiators have agreed on the spending level for the state’s 2015-2017 biennial budget. From the Seattle Times:

“They basically have a spending level agreed to,” OFM director David Schumacher said Friday afternoon. He declined to give the figure.

But the Olympian gives us a hint:

“It’s about halfway between the two budgets. That’s how compromise works,” he said.

The most recent public offer from the Democrat-controlled House called for $38.4 billion in two-year spending from the state’s main budget, while the Republican-controlled Senate offered $37.7 billion.

So, they’re $700 million apart and the split the difference. We’re in the $38 billion neighborhood, then. Maybe.

Anyway, they’re close enough for the Seattle Times editorial board to urge them to wrap it up. The ed board’s impatience is undoubtedly widely shared, but it’s not likely resolution will be as swift as the Times and others desire. Agreeing on the details can be difficult and it’s unclear what, if any, new revenues will emerge in the final package. Even moving at warp speed, clearing the drafting hurdles will involve at least a few days of t-crossing and i-dotting.

Still, progress is good and the prospects of a partial government shutdown appear to be receding.

Other budget stories at the NW News Network and Crosscut