Gov. Chris Gregoire: “Not interested in a special session.”
OLYMPIA — Gov. Chris Gregoire said she still has hopes the Legislature can reach a budget deal by midnight Thursday, the end of the current session, but conceded there is no deal at this point.
“I will fight to the end to get out of here on time,” Gregoire told reporters Tuesday morning. “I'm not interested in a special session.”
But if there's no compromise by the end of the day, that will be difficult, she said. And while there are things that she'll push for, she doesn't know what a workable compromise is yet: “I'll know it when I see it.”
After House Democrats passed a budget solely with their members support, Senate Republicans got the support of three conservative Democrats in that chamber to use a parliamentary procedure Friday and pass a very different spending plan with more program cuts, no new taxes and fewer accounting shifts. The move caught Senate Democratic leadership by surprise.
Gregoire declined to speculate on how the majority leadership miscounted the support for their budget, and said she, too, was surprised by some of the things that became a point of contention between the two caucuses. But Friday' night is “Over. Done. Through.” and all sides have to work out the compromise.
She's also not interersted in a solution that has been suggested by some legislators: forget about a revised budget and give her extra flexibility to cut programs or agencies. Under current law, a governor can only make across the board cuts for all agencies to avoid a deficit.
Gregoire has asked for expanded authority to handle budget problems for several years, but that's not the solution for this budget problem, she said. “They have to pass a budget.”