On day 156 of what should have been a 105-day legislative session, Democratic leaders in Olympia were guardedly optimistic that Republicans might be ready to end their boycott of serious budget negotiations. Dan Frizzell has more in this audio report produced by the Washington State House Democratic Caucus.
Republicans who run the Senate have insisted that majority Democrats in the House pass a multibillion tax increase before negotiations could begin, a demand that Democrats rejected out of hand. With the end of the fiscal year just three weeks away, Republicans know the blame for a government shutdown would be on their heads and they might finally be ready at last to work on a bipartisan compromise budget. House Majority Leader Pat Sullivan, a Democrat from Covington, is a lead budget negotiator for the House.
“We’ve been trying to get the Senate Republicans to the table for the last two months. It’s been frustrating. I wish that we were further along in our budget negotiations but unfortunately we have to have a willing partner to come to the table. The House Democrats have known for some time that we need to compromise. We recognize the fact that we’re not going to get everything we want, and as long as Senate Republicans are willing to accept that as well, we’ll get our job done.”
That job is not to just pass a budget. It has to satisfy the Supreme Court by fully funding basic education by raising billions in new revenue, and it has to be done in the next three weeks. In Olympia, Dan Frizzell.