Positive Revenue News Could Break Budget Logjam In Olympia
By Austin Jenkins
There’s suddenly a flurry of talk in Olympia about a quick resolution to the weeks-long budget stalemate. The change in rhetoric follows Tuesday’s positive revenue and caseload forecasts.
Budget writers will now have an additional $300 million to help bridge their differences. They can thank a recovering housing market and improved consumer confidence. The House and Senate have been locked in a partisan fight over whether to raise additional revenues by closing some tax exemptions. This new money could now fill that gap.
Rodney Tom: “I think it’s great news.”
Senate Majority Leader Rodney Tom predicts a quick resolution to the budget.
Rodney Tom: “Certainly with $320M there’s no excuse for us to get out of town.”
But Governor Jay Inslee’s budget chief – David Schumacher - isn’t quite so optimistic.
David Schumacher: “Is it the final piece? I don’t think we’re quite there yet, but we’re getting a lot closer.”
There are still differences between the House and Senate over how to spend the money. Ultimately the goal is to close a $1B shortfall over the next two years and make a $1B down payment on a Supreme Court ruling that says Washington isn’t adequately funding public schools.