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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883

Spin Control

2 Spec Sess Day 11: Tentative budget agreement on ropes

OLYMPIA -- Legislative leaders do not have a tentative agreement on the size of the state 2015-17 operating budget, a Senate Republican familiar with negotiations said today.

On Friday, the director of the Office of Financial Management said legislative budget leaders had reached a tentative agreement on that point in the ongoing negotiations. It was about halfway between the Senate Republican proposal of $37.9 billion and the House Democratic proposal of $38.4 billion, David Schumacher said after each chamber's budget committee chairman met with Gov. Jay Inslee.

The legislative budget leaders would have to convince their respective caucuses to go along, Schumacher said.

But that agreement apparently was so tentative that it did not survive the weekend. Sen. John Braun, vice chairman of the Senate Ways and Means Committee, said it was premature to have called it an agreement on Friday. There wasn't an agreement, he said.

"There was a lot of discussion about trying to get to an agreement," Braun said shortly before he and Senate Majority Leader Mark Schoesler met with Inslee. The governor had other meetings with leaders from the other caucuses throughout the day.

Schoesler said he was sticking with his policy not to talk about things, but added "I'm sure we'll find a pony in here somewhere."

That's a reference to an old joke, often told by Ronald Reagan, about a child being optimistic when his Christmas present is a room full of manure. 

Asked if the agreement broke down or  Schumacher's description of progress on Friday was incorrect, Inslee spokesman David Postman replied "I'm not going to characterize things."

Jim Camden
Jim Camden joined The Spokesman-Review in 1981 and retired in 2021. He is currently the political and state government correspondent covering Washington state.

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