In the Everett Herald, Jerry Cornfield sums up the state budget, er, discussions.
You can call them budget talks or you can call them budget briefings.
Just don’t call them negotiations.
Because no one is negotiating. According to Cornfield, legislators are talking, trying to understand each other’s position, and so on. But not “making decisions,” in House Majority Leader Pat Sullivan’s words.
Once they get around to deal-making, things can move quickly. The revenue forecast next week may help. But, as Cornfield reports,
Given the impasse, there is mounting skepticism lawmakers can reach a deal by May 28, when this extra session will end.
The House budget depends on about $1.5 billion in new taxes. The Senate doesn’t raise taxes, but does rely on fund transfers and other assumptions to balance. The House has yet to pass the required tax bills; the Senate says the House needs to pass the tax measures before there can be serious discussions. Then there are the nontrivial differences in spending to consider.
The House tax plans have changed some, at least in theory, since the end of the regular session. The Washington Research Council notes yesterday’s introduction of a revised cap-and-trade bill in the House Appropriations Committee.
A new capital gains tax remains among the options considered by House Democrats, though that, too, has been revised since it was originally introduced. The Tax Foundation recently offered its critique of the tax.
So go the non-negotiations on Day 16 of the first special session.