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State Legislature is ‘most disappointing’ to Gov. Inslee

Washington Gov. Jay Inslee announces a special session for the state legislature on Friday, April 21, 2017. (TVW)

Washington Governor Jay Inslee has called for a special session of the state Legislature to begin next week as the state’s budget remains unfinished.

“This job cannot wait,” Inslee said Friday. “And it is my intention to call the legislature back at 10 a.m. on Monday for a special session to get this job done.”

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“It is most disappointing that the State of Washington and the people of Washington are in this position again,” he said. “We know none of the budgets that have been proposed so far — the Republicans’, the Democrats’ or mine — will be the final go-home budget.”

The legislative session is scheduled to end on Sunday, April 23. Inslee said that the final budget will likely be a combination of the three he listed, and said that lawmakers need to start talking and making trades.

Inslee spoke out most harshly against Republicans for blocking progress on the budget, specifically in dealing with with the court-mandated funding of Washington’s educational system. He said that the Republicans seem to view holding out as a political strategy. Inslee referenced a recent quote by Sen. Dino Rossi who likened crafting a budget to fishing — you just have to sit and wait — and said Republicans view the budget like recreation.

But Inslee had his own metaphors, too.

“You have to have two sides to dance, and so far only one side has been willing to dance,” Inslee said. “Now, I’m doing everything you can humanly imagine, short of waterboarding, to get these folks to negotiate, but the Republicans have refused.”

It’s been 1,933 days since the state’s supreme court ruled that Washington was unconstitutionally under-funding its public schools and ordered lawmakers to bring the budget up to par. Democrats and Republicans have faced off ever since on exactly how to do that.

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