In today’s newsletter, we wrote that we and others disappointed the legislative session ended without a capital budget or water rights legislation to fix the state Supreme Court’s Hirst decision urged lawmakers to continue negotiations. Today’s news provides more expressions of that disappointed-yet-hopeful sentiment.
The Walla Walla Union-Bulletin editorial board writes of the dynamics at session’s end.
When Gov. Jay Inslee vetoed a section of the state budget compromise that would have lowered the business-and-occupation tax rate by 40 percent, it left Republicans feeling betrayed because the tax cut was part of the deal.
While Democrat Inslee did not agree to the tax cut before the deal between the GOP and Democrats, the move nevertheless resulted in lingering hard feelings. This might well have been the barrier to getting a deal done on the final two big issues.
But the construction budget must be approved sooner rather and later.
And rural property owners, as well as county governments, should not bear the burden of determining whether water is available. That should fall to the state and its Department of Ecology.
The editorial concludes,
Perhaps some time and distance will be enough to put lawmakers in a frame of mind to hammer out a compromise that serves the best interests of state residents
An editorial in the Chronicle emphasizes the importance of a Hirst fix.
The October 2016 state Supreme Court ruling requires counties to evaluate whether there is enough water available before permitting new buildings, ending the prior use of Department of Ecology information for such decisions.
It placed an incredible burden on rural communities, including Lewis County. It requires either the homeowner or the county to pay a hydrologist to report on the availability of water at a cost of anywhere from $2,000 to $10,000…
And notes the consequences of the failure to reach an agreement.
All elected leaders are called to act in the best interest of their districts, and none of them are served by a lack of a capital budget.
When the finger-pointing comes to an end though, the fact that millions of dollars in projects to improve infrastructure will not take place is simply disappointing, no matter which party you choose to blame.
See also this editorial in the Columbian, which points out that the partisan breakdown in the Legislature requires compromise.
Having a Democratic majority in the House of Representatives and a Republican-controlled Senate can make successes difficult to come by. But Washington is well-served by a split Legislature. Differing ideologies require compromise and provide a voice for all citizens throughout Washington.
That being said, the Legislature has been a growing source of frustration for those citizens. By allowing the operating budget to linger into a third special session and by failing to pass a capital budget, lawmakers turned this year’s session into a disappointment.
It’s only a disappointment if legislators fail to work out a solution in the next few weeks. We’ll see.