Washington Budget Writers ‘Light Years Apart’ As Special Session Looms

Apr 29, 2013

Washington Governor Jay Inslee will give lawmakers a two week cooling off period before calling them back into special session. That announcement Sunday evening followed the formal adjournment of the regular 105-day session.

Hunter-Hill.jpg: Members of the Washington Senate’s majority coalition huddle during a break in floor action on the final day of the regular session.
Credit Austin Jenkins / Northwest News Network

The Democratic governor says House and Senate negotiators remain “light years apart” when it comes to the budget. House budget chair Ross Hunter, a Democrat, agrees. Hunter: “We have pretty different beliefs about what would constitute a stable budget and we’re going to have to work through those I think before we can get to the discussion about what’s an appropriate budget.”

Hunter’s budget writing counterpart in the Washington Senate is Republican Andy Hill. He’s advocating for a no-new-taxes budget on behalf of a majority coalition made up of 23 Republicans and two Democrats. Hill signals he’s willing to take a pragmatic approach.

Hill: “I’m more interested in getting a budget that serves the people of Washington, takes care of building an education system for the 21st century, that’s my focus. I’m not nearly looking at who from which party is going to vote for it.”

Hill says he’s the ultimate optimist when it comes to crafting a final deal. But others in the legislature predict it’s going to take a while to come to an agreement. 

Copyright 2013 Northwest Public Radio