House and Senate leaders promote their budgets; Court to get progress report

As lawmakers anticipate the coming special session, House and Senate budget leaders make their arguments on the op-ed page of the Seattle Times.

House Democrats Ross Hunter and Reuven Carlyle, respectively, chairs of the Appropriations and Finance Committee, defend the House budget’s higher level of spending and new taxes. Excerpts:

After years of struggle, it’s time to reinvest in our future…

These critical investments won’t come for free: Adding court-ordered funding for education requires significant new revenue. Otherwise, we have to make unconscionably large cuts from higher education or the safety net. The House proposes instead to ask large corporations and wealthy investors to pay their fair share…

As the House works with Senate Republicans to reach a final budget agreement, we invite them to join us in investing in real people living real lives instead of protecting the status quo of our unfair tax system.

Senate Ways and Means chair Andy Hill promotes a different strategy.

…our Senate majority set out to better govern by focusing on living within the means taxpayers provide while making the investments Washington deserves and needs.

Our main objective when writing this budget was not to spend a specific dollar amount nor increase taxes — it was to provide the services people expect and deserve from state government without calling on families and businesses to send Olympia more money.

Hill again criticizes the House for not passing a tax plan to fund its budget. Hunter and Carlyle call the Senate budget a “bumper sticker.” 

While the commentaries nicely define the differences between the chambers, they don’t paint a clear picture of how the differences will be resolved in the next few weeks.

Meanwhile, the Attorney General will brief the state Supreme Court next week on lawmakers’ progress in meeting the McCleary obligation. There is the detail of September’s contempt order to be addressed.