The News Tribune editorial board: “no question” a special legislative session is in state’s best interest.

Add The News Tribune editorial board to the list of those thinking a special session of the Washington Legislature is in order.

It may not be politically expedient, especially for the lawmakers running for reelection this year, or logistically easy, given the restrictions of the coronavirus pandemic, but there’s no question a special session of the Washington Legislature is in the best interest of the state.

State Republicans have been calling for an emergency session since May to deal with the economic and political fallout caused by COVID-19. But Gov. Inslee has chosen to go it alone, saying the state has enough “financial wherewithal” to get to the regular January session.

The nonpartisan Washington Research Council disagrees. As they recently noted in a budget report, the state’s $3 billion rainy day fund and any federal relief money are “one-time funds that only delay eventual challenges.”

We’ve made the case before (most recently here), as have other major newspapers and the state Treasurer. The News Tribune points out other states have stepped up to the challenge.
Several other states with part-time legislatures have already called special sessions including Oregon’s; their legislative branch met twice this summer to close a similar budget gap brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic
Waiting for the federal government to provide a bailout is not a strategy. Although the House approved a Postal Service bill Saturday, there’s been no progress on pandemic relief. The WRC report  cited in The News Tribune editorial makes clear the cost of delay. It’s time to act.