budget

A major component of the Oregon budget is on the move in the legislature again. The Oregon Senate Wednesday signed off on the spending plan for K-12 schools. It comes one week after the same budget proposal failed.

Oregon schools get the bulk of their money through the legislature. This budget would represent a sizable boost over last time. But the proposal failed on the Senate floor last week when one Democrat joined with all of the Republicans to block it.

A spokesperson for Washington Governor Jay Inslee said Tuesday lawmakers have agreed to large components of a new state budget and are working through smaller details. They’re running out of time to agree on a two-year budget deal before the existing budget expires this Sunday.

  Meanwhile, 34 state agencies are preparing to close Monday if there’s no deal by then. Virginia Painter with the state parks department says this would be just in time for their busiest week of the year, surrounding the Fourth of July.

Washington Governor Jay Inslee says a budget deal in Olympia is “imminent” – even as state workers start to receive layoff notices. At a news conference Monday afternoon, the Democrat reported significant breakthroughs in budget negotiations.

A shutdown of state government is now one week away. That’s why temporary layoff notices are going out to state employees. That’s a requirement of labor contracts. Governor Inslee says he feels “enormous frustration” there wasn’t a budget deal in time to avert the notices.

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 July 1 government shutdown would look like if there’s no agreement.

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.

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-plus 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.

Austin Jenkins / Northwest News Network

Protracted budget talks in Olympia could see a breakthrough after Tuesday’s release of an updated revenue forecast. That’s the quarterly report that projects how much money will flow into state tax coffers in the coming months.

The largest portion of the Oregon state spending plan hit a major roadblock in the legislature Monday.

The Democratic-controlled Oregon Senate is scheduled to act Monday on the largest single portion of the state spending plan: Money for K-12 schools. But there's a chance the vote will be delayed. That's because a single Democrat has come out against the proposal, throwing a monkey wrench into the process.

This would be the second time the schools budget is held over to another day. With less than two weeks left before the scheduled adjournment, Democratic state Senator Chris Edwards continues to hold out for more money for schools.

There were dramatic developments in Olympia overnight. Governor Jay Inslee held a midnight bill signing to amend Washington’s estate tax. The move means the Department of Revenue will not begin to issue refund checks Friday morning to the heirs of some multi-million dollar estates.

The state of Washington was about to embark on a months-long process of refunding an estimated $140 million to more than 100 estates. This was the result of a Supreme Court ruling earlier this year. The money would have come out of a fund dedicated to public schools.

Washington State University has scrapped plans to expand its academic offerings at a satellite college center in Everett. It blames budget uncertainty in the Washington State legislature.

Colleen Kerr is the lead spokeswoman on the project for WSU. She says the university made the announcement Thursday because it can’t pull together the additional degree offerings planned to begin in August if funding isn’t secure.

Washington lawmakers have until the end of the month to pass a budget – if they hope to avoid a government shutdown. But there’s another costly deadline looming this week.

Christina Salerno / TVW

Washington Governor Jay Inslee will call lawmakers back into a second special session beginning at 9 a.m. Wednesday. He’s also beginning preparations for a government shutdown on July 1 if there’s no deal by then.

Oregon lawmakers could vote as soon as Tuesday on money for K-12 education. But final approval of the spending plan likely won't happen until later this month.

On the table right now is $6.75 billion for Oregon schools. That's a sizable jump over the current spending plan. But some of the state's largest districts say even with that increase, they'd still need to cut teachers or school days.

Washington’s overtime legislative session ends at midnight on Tuesday. But there’s still no agreement on a state budget for the next two years.

Over the weekend, the mostly Republican senate majority passed a revised version of its own spending plan, along with a trio of controversial policy measures.

The three policy bills are not new, the Senate passed them during the regular session. The difference is two of them now have referendum clauses, meaning voters would get the final say.

Washington House Democrats have abandoned some proposed tax increases, but not others, in what they call a “significant compromise” budget offer to the Senate. The public unveiling Wednesday of a slimmed down House spending plan comes as the clock is running out on the current overtime session with still no budget deal.

Bluedisk / Wikimedia Commons

There’s one week left in Washington’s special legislative session and still no budget deal. Governor Jay Inslee and the Senate majority caucus held dueling news conferences Tuesday complete with plenty of finger-pointing.

Voters in two Southwest Oregon counties have defeated short-term property tax increases that would have raised revenue for public safety. Amelia Templeton reports.

Lane County Public Safety Measure Passes

May 22, 2013

The Lane County levy for jail and youth services passed with 56%. KLCC’s Lucy Ohlsen was at the yes-on-213 watch party, where Sheriff Thomas Turner celebrated with supporters.

Better-than-expected tax collections could trigger Oregon's unique kicker law, at least for corporations. The rebate is issued if revenues exceed initial projections by more than two percent. A newly released revenue forecast noted Thursday that business taxes have been robust enough to cross that threshold.

But state economist Mark McMullen says a final tally won't be made until later this year. "We believe that a kicker is better than a 50-50 shot. But not a sure thing. That came with a big surge in corporate taxes at the beginning of the year."

Oregon's economic outlook is looking brighter. That's according to state economists, who issued their quarterly revenue forecast Thursday. The news comes as lawmakers get ready to put together the state's next two-year spending plan.

The slow and steady improvement is still steady, just not quite as slow. The overall growth rate is still a bit behind past expansions, but state economist Mark McMullen says some of the factors holding back Oregon's economy are looking better, such as jobs and the housing market.

On the eve of a new state revenue forecast, Oregon Governor John Kitzhaber is putting pressure on state lawmakers to reach a deal over taxes and public pensions. The Democrat proposed a compromise Wednesday aimed at pleasing Republicans and Democrats in the legislature.

The Oregon House Tuesday approved a measure to renew a tax paid by hospitals and long-term care facilities. The concept isn't controversial since the institutions that pay it are largely reimbursed by federal Medicaid dollars. But the vote became a skirmish in a larger political battle in Salem.

Washington Special Session Starts With No Budget Deal

May 13, 2013

The Washington legislature reconvenes Monday for a 30-day special session. But there’s still no budget deal in sight – despite a two week break to negotiate. Olympia Correspondent Austin Jenkins has this update from the Capitol.

Washington’s special session begins next Monday. But at this point it seems unlikely House and Senate budget negotiators will be close to a deal. Governor Jay Inslee said both sides agreed Tuesday on some common assumptions about the next two year budget.

Inslee spoke at the end of a bill signing ceremony. For now he’s measuring progress in these budget negotiations by the week, not the day. A budget is made up of hundreds if not thousands of assumptions about how much something will or won’t cost. How much a cut will or won’t save.

Chris Lehman

Oregon lawmakers will find out later this month how much money will be available to spend in the upcoming budget cycle. So right now, there’s a lot of behind-the-scenes maneuvering in the budget-writing process. Education, as usual, is in line for the biggest piece of the pie. But human service advocates say after years of budget turmoil, this year could be their chance to restore funding for Oregon’s social safety net. Salem Correspondent Chris Lehman reports:

Austin Jenkins / Northwest News Network

The Washington legislature has adjourned after a 105-day session. The final gavels fell just after six o’clock Sunday night.

Owen: “The 2013 regular session of the 63rd legislature is adjourned Sine Die"

But the adjournment won’t last long. Governor Jay Inslee immediately called a special session for two weeks from now because the House and Senate failed to come to agreement on a two-year budget. Olympia Correspondent Austin Jenkins reports.

Austin Jenkins / Northwest News Network

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.

Two days after a proposed tax hike faltered in the Oregon House, a union-backed group has filed initiatives to raise taxes on corporations. The move by Our Oregon Friday could be a repeat of a bitter tax fight three years ago.

Our Oregon has successfully led two tax campaigns in the last few years. The group estimates the six initiatives it’s looking at for 2014 would raise corporate taxes anywhere from $75 million to more than $1 billion a year.

Special Session Looms In Olympia

Apr 25, 2013

Washington’s 105-day legislative session ends this Sunday. House Democrats took a nearly $1 billion tax vote Wednesday. But there’s still no budget deal. Olympia Correspondent Austin Jenkins says Governor Jay Inslee stopped short of saying a special session will be necessary.

Governor Jay Inslee is like the gambler. He says it would take an “inside straight” for the legislature to complete its work by Sunday’s deadline. 

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