The governor announced today she will call for a special session to begin tomorrow (Tuesday, April 26) so lawmakers can return to complete the two of three budget bills they needed to pass this session. Here is my statement:
“I am very disappointed a special session has to be called. It is unnecessary and shows failed leadership from the majority party that controls both the Washington state House and Senate. It was clear in January, as we began this legislative session, what we were faced with, and we had over three months to address the challenges. Yet, today House and Senate leadership are far apart on an operating budget agreement. The last few weeks it feels like the majority leadership has abandoned the clear public call for a sustainable, prioritized budget. Washingtonians are looking for leaders who will take decisive action to get our state back on track for a solid economic recovery.
“At a time when we are seeing significant reductions in the majority party's budget to K-12 education, the disabled, public safety, higher education and other priorities that we all value, this special session is going to cost the taxpayers up to $16,000 a day. For the third year in a row, our state leadership has not been able to finish the legislative session on time. These are serious times, but it's important to remember that forecasted state revenues are approximately $4 billion more than the last biennium. We owe the people of our state a thoughtful budget that provides essential services in an efficient, customer-service focused manner.”
“I'm also extremely frustrated we are going home without addressing our workers' compensation system. The Senate managed to pass a strong bipartisan bill. The governor was on board, House Republicans were on board, and even this week we have seen a handful of House Democrats working to help us get a bill to the House floor, but it appears House majority leadership isn't going to allow it to happen. This issue is recognized nationally as one of our key competitive disadvantages. This will delay our economic recovery, hurt employers and cost us jobs. Employers are seeing rate increases each year they simply cannot sustain, and this comes at the expense of them expanding and hiring to help our economic recovery. The cost of doing nothing is too great. We will continue to push during special session for a solution that will help get Washington working again.”
If you have any questions or comments please do not hesitate to contact my office. Again, I can be reached at (360) 786-7884 or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.
As always, thank you for reading my e-mail update. I look forward to your continued input on the issues of importance to you. Have a lovely week.