Washington Budget Negotiations Heat Up, Shutdown Details Emerge

By Austin Jenkins

The push is on to get a final budget deal in Olympia. Top legislative leaders met Thursday to see if they could bridge their final differences. Meanwhile we’re starting to get a clearer picture of what a government shutdown on July 1st would look like if there’s no agreement.

Members of Governor Jay Insleeā€™s staff brief reporters on what a government shut down on July 1st would entail.The governor’s office says without a new budget, 34 state agencies and commissions would completely shut down on July 1st. Another 24 would partially shutter. On the closure list: state parks, the lottery, and some mental health services. At the Department of Corrections, the prisons would stay open but community supervision of Washington offenders would cease. On the medical side, state funding for dialysis patients would end. Mary Alice Heuschel is chief of staff to Governor Jay Inslee and says “This absolutely is the last thing the governor or any of us want to happen."

Mary Alice Heuschel: “He is doing everything in his power to help legislators find agreement.”

At the Capitol, Republican and Democratic budget negotiators are exchanging offers. Speaker of the House Frank Chopp, a Democrat, says progress is being made.

Frank Chopp: “We’re working very hard to make sure we get this job done as soon as possible.”

The Senate majority says there’s no reason things can’t be wrapped up by Sunday. Monday is when lay-off notices will go out to thousands of state employees.

Photo: Members of Governor Jay Inslee’s staff brief reporters on what a government shut down on July 1st would entail.

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