Little apparent movement in state budget talks, but a lot of speculation

According to Gov. Jay Inslee, lawmakers aren’t close to agreeing on a budget. That’s pretty much the news from Olympia today.

Joseph O’Sullivan reports in the Seattle Times:

…House Democrats and Senate Republicans have exchanged proposals toward compromise for the 2015-17 operating budget.

But, “they were quite minimal in their approach,” Inslee said Wednesday afternoon during a regular media availability. “And there’s a long, long ways to go.”

The governor also continues to promote his revenue plan.

Inslee also said he has been talking to House Speaker Frank Chopp, D-Seattle, and other legislators on how to work a carbon emissions plan back into the mix to provide education revenue for the state.

As Austin Jenkins reports for the NW News Network:

Inslee views it as a twofer. Charge industry for carbon emissions. Then take the money generated and put a chunk of it into fully funding public schools.

So far, though, the governor hasn’t included Republicans in the conversation. 

Meanwhile, a trio of Senate Republicans believe that the final budget accord will include funding for the negotiated collective bargaining agreement, according to Jordan Schrader in The News Tribune. 

Republican Sens. Steve O’Ban of Tacoma, Mark Miloscia of Federal Way and Pam Roach of Auburn, predict the Legislature’s final budget will fund the contracts as negotiated. O’Ban said he “can’t conceive of a situation where we won’t” sign off on the contracts.

The final sign-off, however, may be contingent on changes in the collective bargaining process.
And while the budget gets top billing in most news coming out of Olympia, the Seattle Times editorial board urges legislators to close the deal on transportation.

After two previous sessions during which negotiations broke down, lawmakers must find consensus on an issue that impacts just about every resident, frustrated driver and business in the state…a transportation deal should not fall through the cracks. 

So, there’s still a lot to talk about. The good news is, they’re talking.