Friday Wrap I: No quick budget fix, but glimmers of progress

Despite Monday’s upbeat revenue forecast, lawmakers remain high-centered on the tax questions that divided them from the beginning. Although the governor now says the $1.4 billion in new taxes he proposed in December is no longer necessary, he thinks some increase is required. From the NW News Network:

So how big a tax package is Inslee proposing now?

“I don’t have a clear number for you,” he said.

Senate Republicans have a clear number: zero.

Senate Majority Leader Mark Schoesler, R-Ritzville, had a different take on the revenue forecast…No new taxes are needed, he insisted: “We should spend the increase in revenue prudently and get this session done.”

Crosscut’s John Stang likens the different takes on the same news to the Rashomon effect. He also notes that the governor continues to favor cap-and-trade and a capital gains tax. It’s far from clear that House Democrats have the votes for either, though there may be a slight preference for the latter. Regardless, neither is likely to win favor in the Senate.

Jim Camden sums it up in the Spokesman-Review.

Both sides agreed the Legislature could reach a budget agreement and be done by May 28, the last scheduled day of the special session. But neither side sounded very optimistic that would happen. If it doesn’t Inslee said he would call a second special session to start the day after the first special session ended.

Although the current stalemate seems likely to extend for a while, the increased forecast brings the sides closer together. There should be resolution soon. No one wants a repeat of 2013, when stalled budget talks led to the threat of a state shutdown.