budget

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.

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