Lawmakers continue to work toward agreement on two-year budget, but will adjourn Sunday knowing they’ll have to return for a special session.
As the regular 105-day period was set to come to an end Sunday night, lawmakers took to the floor in both chambers to pass some remaining bills.
Gov. Jay Inslee was expected to announce a possible time frame for the special session later in the day. A special session can last up to 30 days.
“We’d like to do this as quickly as possible,” Inslee said during an interview with public affairs network TVW earlier in the day.
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Lawmakers are tasked with patching a projected budget deficit of more than $1.2 billion for the next two-year budget, not counting additional money needed for a court-ordered requirement that they increase funding to basic education.
The House and Senate have taken different approaches to balance state spending and increase funding for education, with the biggest difference centered around whether to raise revenue from extending taxes or eliminating tax breaks.
Negotiations have continued throughout the week, but Senate Republican budget writer Andy Hill told TVW Sunday that the current situation is one where “the budgets are very far apart” and that the votes do not exist in the Senate to raise taxes.
House Majority Leader Pat Sullivan, D-Covington, said he believed lawmakers would be able to finish their work within one special session, but said he knows it will be a tough negotiation.
“I said from Day 1 that I thought this was going to be one of the toughest budgets we’d have to put together,” said House Majority Leader Pat Sullivan, D-Covington. “We’ll have to come together. It’s somewhere in the middle, we all know that, it’s just a matter of getting there.”