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Gov. Inslee confident of budget deal in state Legislature

Washington State Capitol Legislative Building Dome in Olympia. - Courtesy photo
Washington State Capitol Legislative Building Dome in Olympia.
— image credit: Courtesy photo

As the July 1 deadline nears, Gov. Jay Inslee said he's confident that a budget deal will be reached in the state Legislature.

Inslee's office had begun sending out layoff notices on June 24, even as the governor spoke at a scheduled press conference that day to address the potential of a government shutdown.

"I know these notices will generate very significant uncertainty and anxiety," Inslee said. "Fortunately, the current negotiations gives me confidence that agreement is imminent. I am more confident now than I was Saturday, more confident than I was yesterday, and, more importantly, more confident than I was at 9 o'clock this morning."

Inslee said that "substantial positive developments" had occurred during the morning hours of June 24, although he was unable to elaborate further as to what those developments might entail.

"This news gives me increasing confidence that we will have the resources to fulfill our obligations to fund our schools, protect the most vulnerable amongst us, and avoid an unprecedented shutdown of state government," the governor said. "But time is of the essence, and I have urged, and will continue to urge negotiators, and all members of the state Legislature, to get this job done."

The state Legislature is in its second special session, mostly battling about the state budget and how to fund education as a result of last year's State Supreme Court decision commonly known as the McCleary decision.

The two budget versions between the House and Senate have essentially arrived at the same amount of $1 billion for the McCleary "down payment," but did so in vastly differing ways, with the House looking to create new revenue with taxes, while the Senate looks to free up money by eliminating or scaling back a number of social services programs and agencies.

 

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