Headed into triple overtime, lawmakers and governor hopeful that they’ll avoid government shutdown

This was expected. From the governor’s press release (video of the governor’s media availability also at link). 

With nine days remaining before the end of the fiscal year, Gov. Jay Inslee called legislators into a third session to urge them to deliver a complete two-year budget by June 30 that will fully-fund education and prevent any shutdown of state services. He also rejected the notion that a short-term 30-day budget could be considered as a stopgap.

“A government shutdown and a 30-day budget are both equally reckless, equally irresponsible tactics that fail to deal with the long-term fiscal and fiduciary consequences of not doing their job, which is to produce a two-year budget for the people of the state of Washington,” Inslee said. 

The Seattle Times reports lawmakers continue to express optimism.

Republican Senate Majority Leader Mark Schoesler of Ritzville said Wednesday afternoon that lawmakers are close to an agreement.

“We’ve always said we wanted to finish on time with a deal, and we still remain optimistic,” Schoesler said.

The governor, while clearly frustrated, seems to agree.

“The differences in spending and revenue, I believe, are small enough that I see no reason that budget negotiations go on beyond next week,” Inslee said.

The News Tribune reports similar optimism for a key House Democrat.

State Rep. Kris Lytton, D-Anacortes and the chairwoman of the House Finance Committee, said she agrees “a government shutdown is not an option.” She said she still thinks lawmakers can come up with a compromise in time.

“I mean, we’re kissing up to the deadline, but I still think we have a strong likelihood to get done,” she said. “We have to get done.”


State Sen. Reuven Carlyle, D-Seattle, is less certain.

“Every hour and every day is at hyper-warp speed,” Carlyle said of this stage of budget negotiations. “Things could happen quickly, or they could crash into a black hole.”

The news stories detail what might happen in the event a deal isn’t reached. The list is long. For example, from the Seattle Times report:

Without a new state operating budget signed by June 30, much of Washington’s government would shut down July 1. On Thursday, state agencies were expected to begin sending out 32,000 temporary layoff notices to government workers…

State prisons wouldn’t accept new offenders, he said, and 50,000 seniors would lose meal-delivery service. State fish hatcheries might shut down and state campgrounds would close.

Such a shutdown “touches virtually everyone in the state of Washington, and it is totally unnecessary,” Inslee said.

We continue to hope for a good outcome. But, on occasion, the expressions of optimism put us in mind of this classic.