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The Spokesman-Review Newspaper

The Spokesman-Review Newspaper The Spokesman-Review

Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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Budget deal? Apparently yes. Details? Not hardly.

OLYMPIA -- Gov. Jay Inslee and legislative leaders say they have reached a deal on a two-year budget and staved off a partial government shutdown that would have started Wednesday. But they released few details of that deal that had eluded them for 163 legislative days. The public will have to wait at least a day, they said.

State House approves taxes on medical marijuana

OLYMPIA – Medical marijuana patients would pay many of the same taxes as recreational pot users under a bill approved Friday by the House. On a 59-38 vote, the House passed major revisions to Washington’s rapidly evolving marijuana laws, even though some lawmakers argued the rates were too high and the state is expecting to collect far too much in tax revenue by projecting sales that amount to nearly 1 ounce of marijuana for each of the state’s residents.

WSU’s Floyd honored by legislators

OLYMPIA – Legislators praised the late Washington State University President Elson Floyd as a tireless advocate for his adopted state, its communities and their college students. Amid shouts of “Go Cougs” in the normally sedate chambers, both houses passed resolutions honoring Floyd, who died last weekend of complications from colon cancer.

Washington’s budget likely to go down to wire

OLYMPIA – With the clock ticking down to a partial state government shutdown, several options emerged Thursday that would “keep the lights on and the parks open,” as the Senate’s chief budget writer, Andy Hill, said. He acknowledged that likely will mean working past Saturday, the end of the current second special session, and into a third overtime session.

Legislature honors Elson Floyd

OLYMPIA -- Legislators lauded late Washington State University President Elson Floyd as a leader who made WSU a winner and higher education accessible to students around the state.

Senate panel to look at new budget plans

OLYMPIA -- The Senate Ways and Means Committee will hold hearings on some of the latest iterations of a budget plan this afternoon, including one that would stave off a shutdown for a month. It would extend the current budget through July, with only a few additions like the money to pay for debt service and $14 million for drought.

Washington House Democrats float base, tax-adding budgets

OLYMPIA – With less than a week left in the special session and eight days before a budget stalemate could cause a partial state shutdown, Washington House Democrats released a budget proposal that would give raises to state workers and public school employees, spend more on mental health, freeze tuition this year at state colleges and reduce the number of students in kindergarten through third-grade classes, all without raising taxes. A separate proposal would require the closing of some $356 million in tax preferences and exemptions to pay for an “investment package” of additional programs and expenses. Included in that package would be money for the new Washington State University medical school in Spokane and more medical residencies in the state.

House Dems budget: No new taxes; $356 million in ‘loophole’ closures

OLYMPIA -- House Democrats released their "no new taxes" operating budget this morning that includes cost-of-living raises for teachers and state workers, a college tuition freeze and some class-size reductions. They also want an extra $356 million from closing some tax preferences and exemptions to pay for programs outside that "base budget."

House Democrats release budget plan

OLYMPIA -- House Democrats release a "base budget" that would pay for many state programs without a tax increase. But a package of add-ons, including the WSU-Spokane Medical School, are included in separate legislation dependent on closing $356 million in tax preferences.

Spin Control: No criminal charges allowed in case of late budget

The old saying that there’s never a cop around when you need one is particularly true right now in the Capitol, where the Legislature is violating the state budget law and no one is available to make an arrest. We’re not talking about the law of good sense, which is certainly being violated as legislators lurch toward a new fiscal year without a budget to tell agencies how to spend state money. No, this is the actual budget law, which says the Legislature must pass a budget no later than 30 days before the end of the current fiscal year, and failure to do so is a misdemeanor.

Progress reported on state budget process

OLYMPIA – Gov. Jay Inslee and legislative leaders seemed to concur Friday that they are closing in on an agreement on the 2015-17 state budget, something that has eluded them for 155 days. But they didn’t completely agree on how close, or the components of that agreement.

State workers get layoff warnings as budget deadline nears

OLYMPIA – Washington officials insisted Thursday they were confident the Legislature would pass a budget by June 30 and avoid a partial government shutdown, but not confident that would happen before Tuesday, when labor contracts require they notify tens of thousands of state employees of potential temporary layoffs. “I still think this will not happen,” said David Schumacher, director of the Office of Financial Management, who has sat in on many of the meetings between legislative leaders and Gov. Jay Inslee. “I don’t think it’s in anyone’s best interest to let this happen.”

Former Rep. Susan Fagan settles ethics complaint, reimburses state for funds

OLYMPIA – Former Rep. Susan Fagan has agreed to settle a complaint with Legislative Ethics Board that she repeatedly violated rules by receiving public funds for personal or political expenses.  The Pullman Republican, who resigned in April as the ethics investigation was concluding, reimbursed the state a total of $836 for expenses she illegally claimed on House expense accounts and paid the board $4,782 for the costs of investigating the complaint. In agreeing to those payments as part of a settlement to close the case, she denied she exhibited “general untruthfulness,” as the investigator contended.