Inslee: State budget deal may finally have been reached
State House and Senate budget negotiators told Governor Jay Inslee that they have reached a tentative deal on the 2017-2019 biennial operating budget on Wednesday.
“The negotiators and caucus leaders said they were confident that they would complete work on the budget and have a vote of the Legislature before the end of the day Friday, the final day of the fiscal year,” Inslee wrote on Twitter.
A deal would avoid a partial shutdown of the government.
Governor Jay Inslee said Tuesday he was getting some positive signs from lawmakers.
“Legislative and budget leaders are expressing that they’ll be able to reach a final agreement,” Inslee said.
The official deadline is midnight Friday, but some lawmakers say they have even less time.
Lawmakers say because they have to review the budget before voting — and the governor’s office has to scrutinize it before deciding whether to use a veto — lawmakers may only really have until Wednesday morning to get the budget sorted out, KIRO 7 reports.
The gap between budget negotiators on both sides of the aisle is down to about $500 billion.
About 32,000 state workers are facing temporary layoffs if a deal isn’t reached. More than 100 state parks would close July 1, costing the state millions in revenue. The Department of Corrections would also temporarily lose 3,400 of their approximate 8,500 workers.
The Washington State Department of Health says its disease outbreak protection capabilities would be crippled.
In total, 29 state agencies would close in a government shutdown.
Lawmakers are in the middle of a third overtime session. If a new budget isn’t signed into law by midnight Friday, a partial shutdown starts July 1.
This is the third time in four years the state government has been on the brink of closure, all because legislators have failed to agree on budgets in a timely fashion.