On Last Day Of Session, Game Of Chicken Over Wash. Budget

Mar 8, 2012

OLYMPIA, Wash. – The clock is running out on Washington’s 60 day legislative session. Lawmakers must adjourn by midnight Thursday night. But they still haven’t passed a plan to re-balance the state budget.

You might call it a game of legislative chicken. On the final day of the session, majority Democrats in the House unveiled a go-home budget and brought it to the floor for a vote. They had negotiated the details with Senate Democrats. But not with Republicans. Last Friday they took over the Senate and passed their own budget with the help of three break-away Democrats. Republican Senator Joe Zarelli led Friday’s budget coup.

Joe Zarelli: “The senate passed a budget, the House passed a budget. It’s time to talk about the differences.”

Senate budget chair Ed Murray, a Democrat, responds.

Ed Murray: “Well, obviously they have a philosophical majority on the budget at the moment. But that’s a somewhat of a loose coalition of people. That could shift at any moment.”

Even if someone does blink in this game of chicken, it appears certain that lawmakers will have to return in special session to finish their work.

Copyright 2012 Northwest News Network