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Posts tagged: budget hearings

WA Lege Day 94: Senate budget hearings

OLYMPIA — The Senate will hold a hearing in its Ways and Means Committee this afternoon for the general operating budget released Tuesday evening.

The budget is 462 pages long, but folks who stayed up all night to peruse it should be well versed in it by the time the panel starts at 2:30 p.m. There is a bit of a hurry, after all, because there are only 11 days left in the 105-day session…one of which is Easter Sunday. (Another is April 22, Good Friday and April 19, the start of Passover , but what are we, a calendar company?)

House Ways and Means Committee also has a hearing, starting at 3:30 p.m., on several bills needed to implement its budget, which passed Saturday. Among them is the consolidation of many arts and heritage programs into a single state agency which would have control of — and money for — the Museum of Arts and Culture in Spokane. The Senate budget doesn't call for that consolidation, but one never knows which spending plan will hold sway on the varioius points of difference.

In the meantime, both chambers have work to do on “concurrences” — bills that both houses have passed in some form or another, but now have to be reconciled into a form acceptable to both.

And if anyone asks “Where's the beef?” today, there could be multiple answers. Budget writers are likely to point to their spending plans. But the more literal answer would be on the west campus, where the Washington Cattleman's Association is serving up lunch in its annual barbecue.

And no, those aren't the Blues Brothers in the picture above. Democratic Sens. Craig Pridemore of Vancouver and Steven Hobbs of Lake Stevens donned shades during floor debate Tuesday on changing laws for embalmers.

Don't ask.

Budget session Thursday

Got a thought on how to help solve the state’s budget woes?

Thursday may be your chance in Eastern Washington. That’s when the Office of Financial Management brings its road show to the Lair Student Center auditorium at Spokane Community College, for two hours, starting at 5 p.m.

The hearings are proving pretty popular — or at least well-attended. The first session in Tacoma drew 450 people and the second in Everett close to 400. The governor’s office moved the Spokane session to a larger venue to accommodate a similar response in Spokane.

Because of the big crowds, people who speak will be asked to keep their comments to two minutes to allow as many other speakers as possible. They’ll take written testimony, and people who want to offer ideas but don’t want to speak will be allowed to submit comments in writing.

And if you’ve got other plans for Thursday, but want to submit your ideas, you can do it online, by clicking here to go to the governor’s budget web site .

Gov. Chris Gregoire assigned OFM to hold the hearings to keep them focused on budget matters, but she stopped by the first two. There are no plans for her to show up in Spokane, despite what you may have heard on TV.

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About this blog

Jim Camden is a veteran political reporter for The Spokesman-Review.

Jonathan Brunt is an enterprise reporter for The Spokesman-Review.

Kip Hill is a general assignments reporter for The Spokesman-Review.

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