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WA Lege SpecSess: Gregoire frustrated at slow pace

OLYMPIA – As the Legislature crawled through its fourth day of a special session without a solution to its budget problems, Gov. Chris Gregoire was among those expressing frustration with the progress, or apparent lack of it.

The session could be done by Sunday, which would be the absolute last day Gregoire said she wanted them to spend in this legislative overtime.

“I thought I was giving them a couple days extra time, just in case,” she said at a press conference called to tout the state’s growth in environmentally friendly or green jobs. “To talk about going another week, to me, is inexcusable.”

To read the rest of this story, or to see the list of legislators not taking a per diem during the special session,  go inside the blog.

Now it looks like Sunday could be the earliest the budget business is wrapped up.

Gregoire predicted “movement” in the next day or two on some key sticking points, like furloughs for state workers.

Democratic leaders in the House and Senate have reached some agreement in how much to cut and how much to retain in the state’s supplemental budget, but they don’t agree on the programs in and out to reach that dollar figure, said one source familiar with the discussions.

And they don’t agree on what taxes to raise to fill the remainder of the whole in the state’s budget, which is estimated at $2.8 billion if nothing were to be cut and no taxes were to be raised.

“I don’t have 25 votes in the Senate for something short of a sales tax, and I don’t have 50 votes in the House, for something with a sales tax,” Gregoire said, adding she continues to oppose a sales tax increase, but won’t promise to veto of a tax package that has one.

On Wednesday, minority Republicans, who have been largely shut out of the negotiations, contended the lack of progress was a result of poor planning and worse communication on the part of Democrats. Sen. Mark Schoesler, R-Ritzville, noted that a committee meeting called for hearings on bills if they are referred to the panel.

“Either you’re going to do these things or you’re not,” Schoesler said. The committee also held a hearing on a bill before it was even introduced and referred to the panel.

The cost of the special session is estimated at $18,300 a day, but that’s only if all 147 legislators accept they $90 per diem they can claim for food and lodging expenses. So far 21 senators and 26 representatives have said they won’t take that payment, and another 23 representatives say they won’t take it on certain days. That would lower the daily cost tobetween $12,700 and $14,000, depending on the day.

Here are the legislators who have notified Senate or House officials that they will not file for a per diem for the special session, or some days in the session.

Senators refusing the per diem:
Randi Becker, R-Eatonville
Don Benton, R-Vancouver
Mike Carrell, R-Lakewood
Tracey Eide, D-Seattle
Randy Gordon, D-Bellevue
Mike Hewitt, R-Walla Walla
Janea Holmquist, R-Moses Lake
Jim Honeyford, R-Sunnyside
Jim Kastama, D-Puyallup
Derek Kilmer, D-Gig Harbor
Curtis King, R-Yakima
Chris Marr, D-Spokane
Bob McCaslin, R-Spokane Valley
Bob Morton, R-Kettle Falls
Linda Parlette, R-Wenatchee
Debbie Regala,D-Tacoma
Pam Roach, R-Auburn
Phil Rockefeller, D-Bainbridge Island
Paull Shin, D-Mukilteo
Val Stevens, R-Arlington
Joe Zarelli, R-Ridgefield

House members declining the per diem for the session:
Gary Alexander, R-Olympia
Reuven Carlyle, D-Seattle
Frank Chopp, D-Seattle
Bruce Dammeier, R-Puyallup
Richard DeBolt, R-Chehalis
John Driscoll, D-Spokane
Hans Dunshee, D-Snohomish
Fred Finn, D-Thurston County
Kathy Haigh, D-Shelton
Jaime Herrera, R-Camas
Sam Hunt, D-Olympia
Jim Jacks, D-Vancouver
Ruth Kagi, D-Lake Forest Park
Marcie Maxwell, D-Renton
Jim McCune, R-Graham
Dawn Morrell, D-Puyallup
Al O’Brien, D-Mountlake Terrace
Tina Orwall, D-Des Moines
Kevin Parker, R-Spokane
Tim Probst, D-Vancouver
Dan Roach, R-Bonney Lake
Christine Rolfes, D-Bainbridge Island
Larry Seaquist,D-Gig Harbor
Matt Shea, R-Spokane Valley
Kevin Van De Wege, D-Sequim
Brendan Williams, D-Olympia

House members who are refusing per diems on certain days of the special session, and the days they’ve specified not to take it:
Jan Angel, R-Port Orchard, Monday
Sherry Appleton, R-Poulsbo, Thursday and Saturday
Tom Campbell, R-Roy, Thursday
Judy Clibborn, D-Mercer Island, Thursday and any day at home
Cary Condotta, R-East Wenatchee, Monday
Larry Crouse,R-Spokane Valley, Monday
Mary Lou Dickerson, D-Seattle, Thursday and Saturday
Deborah Eddy, D-Kirkland,, only take it for days worked
Bill Hinkle, R-Cle Ellum, Monday
Norm Johnson, R-Yakima, Monday
Phyllis Kenney, D-Seattle, all days except Monday
Brad Klippert,R-Kennewick,  Monday
Dan Kristiansen, R-Snohomish, Monday
Terry Nealy, R-Dayton, Monday
Sharon Nelson, D-Maury Island, Thursday and Saturday
Ed Orcutt, R-Kalama, Monday
Skip Priest, R-Federal Way, Monday
Charles Ross, R-Naches, Monday
Shelly Short, R-Addy, Monday
Norma Smith, R-Clinton, Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday
David Taylor, R-Moxee, Monday
Maureen Walsh, R-College Place, Monday, Tuesday

Names provide by the Clerk of the House and Secretary of the Senate.


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The Spokesman-Review's political team keeps a critical eye on local, state and national politics.