Legislature will go into overtime still divided on budget and taxes

Lawmakers will not finish their work on time.

The House’s budget chairman said Tuesday that Washington lawmakers will not finish their work by Sunday’s deadline and will need a special session to work out the details on the state budget and adequately paying for public education.

Gov. Jay Inslee agreed with Rep. Ross Hunter’s assessment. But he said special-session plans haven’t been talked about yet.

The AP story goes on to quote the Senate budget chair.

Sen. Andy Hill, the Senate Republicans’ key budget writer, said he was disappointed that a special session is already a foregone conclusion…

Hill said the overtime session should start immediately after the Legislature adjourns the regular session…

The divisions on taxes and spending, particularly with respect to meeting the McCleary obligations, have been clear from Day 1. Eventually, the gap between the chambers will be closed. An on-time finish was always a low probability. 

In other taxing news, Gov. Jay Inslee says he does not endorse Treasurer Jim McIntire’s proposed income tax. The Seattle Times reports

…Inslee isn’t on board, according to Jaime Smith, the governor’s spokeswoman.

“He is not proposing a state income tax,” Smith said, adding that in his budget, the governor called for taxes on carbon polluters and a capital gains tax on some assets to help pay for court-mandated K-12 education costs and other state needs.

The article explores a little income tax politics, noting that critics of the capital gains tax have taken to referring to it as the “capital gains income tax.” As pressure mounts in the waning days of the special session, all sides have stepped up their public communications efforts. 

Also in the Times, an op-ed discussing how Washington’s unusually high number of statewide elected officials complicates decision making and thwarts efforts to hold officials accountable. The split between the governor and treasurer on tax policy illustrates the point.