Legislature adjourns w/unfinished business; returning for special session Wednesday

Who could have seen this coming? Well, nearly everyone though it’s customary and appropriate to hope for timely outcomes.

Bowing to the inevitable, lawmakers leave Olympia today for a brief respite before returning Wednesday (budget negotiators return Monday) for a special session. Tempting as it is to say the first special session, we will follow customary and appropriate tradition and assume a timely outcome.  

Reasons for optimism pretty much come down to a version of Stein’s Law: If something can’t go on forever it will stop. The issues dividing the parties and the chambers are those that divided them from well before Day One of the session: the budget, taxes and education funding, with critical transportation funding caught up in the mix. 

The Associated Press reports on Gov. Inslee’s statement (TVW coverage of his press conference held before he set the date here). 

“It is time for all sides to compromise, and on Monday I hope to hear openness to that and acknowledgment that the House and Senate will have to move toward each other in order to get the people’s work done,” Inslee said in a written statement.

The statement said that while Inslee considers the operating budget and education funding top priorities of the upcoming special session, he is also asking lawmakers to finish work on other issues, including a revenue package for transportation and a capital-construction budget.

Compromise so far has been elusive. The Spokesman-Review reports,

“It’s time to compromise,” Inslee said at a morning news conference. “I understand I won’t be getting everything I proposed … The House is going to have to find a way to reduce spending, and the Senate is going to have to find a way to raise revenue.”

Inslee says he’s still holding out for some form of carbon taxation as part of the final revenue package. 

Crosscut highlights factors that make the 2015 differences more difficult to resolve than those faced by the Legislature in 2013, which did not conclude until June 29.

The Spokesman-Review notes that lawmakers hope to avoid repetition of that extended debate. 

Legislative leaders from both parties have said they want to avoid [going into a second special session] and would like to reach a budget deal by mid-May so school districts will know how much money the state will be sending them as the districts plan their budgets for the upcoming school year.

That would be good.