A limited number of state senators and members of the state House of Representatives are within the Legislative Building in Olympia again today, as they begin a second consecutive 30-day special session.
Following the 105-day “regular” session and its follow-on “special” session, which expired yesterday, the governor called lawmakers back for yet another month to search for a spending plan to cover the next two years.
“I absolutely believe we will come to an agreement on a new two-year budget and how to fully fund Washington’s education system,” Senate Majority Leader Mark Schoesler wrote in a morning news release today. “We did not come here to fail.”
Thus far, however, the regular and extended work periods have not reached any compromise plan to fully fund K-12 basic education in the state, as ordered several years ago by the state Supreme Court. That major piece of the next biennial operating budget for 2017-2019 remains tied up in a stand-off between Republicans, who control the Senate, and majority Democrats in the House.
“All four corners are at the table working on the solution to McCleary, which, under our plan, accounts for more than 50 percent of the budget for the first time since the ’80s,” Schoesler continued in his press release. “We still differ on some things, but we’ve seen progress and we’ll get there.”
Midway through June, an updated forecast of state revenue collections will come out; in similar situations from prior budgetary stalemates, this report has seemed to get things moving toward a June 30th budget agreement.