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BOISE – Potential tax relief, as well as investments in education and transportation, are on the table after tax revenue blew past projections for the third consecutive month, resulting in a projected $530 million budget surplus, Idaho Gov. Brad Little said Friday.
SALEM – Gov. Kate Brown on Saturday said she would call a second special legislative session this summer to fix a state budget wrecked by the economic fallout from the COVID-19 crisis and wants to use coronavirus relief funds to help support the Black community and working people.
BOISE — A former Idaho budget director has been sentenced to 90 days in jail and 10 years of supervised probation after he pleaded guilty to willfully possessing or accessing child sexually exploitative material.
As the nation enters a third month of economic devastation, the coronavirus is proving ruinous to state budgets, forcing many governments to consider deep cuts to schools, universities, health care and other basic functions that would have been unthinkable just a few months ago.
Rather than thoughtfully address the concerns of doctors, patients, hospitals, insurers, consumers and state and local leaders, the strategy was:
State legislators have eliminated funding for Innovate Washington, an agency created just two years ago by the merger of Sirti and the Washington Technology Center and charged by the Legislature with “growing the state’s innovation economy.” Innovate Washington CEO Kim Zentz said the agency had sought $5.6 million in state funding for the next two years to support operations at existing levels.
OLYMPIA – Gov. Jay Inslee signed a new two-year budget on Sunday, averting a government shutdown that state officials had been planning for in case the new spending plan wasn’t in place by the end of the weekend. The $33.6 billion operating budget was the key item among more than a dozen bills signed by Inslee, just a day after the Legislature adjourned for the year after two overtime legislative sessions.
OLYMPIA – After 153 days, the Washington Legislature decided Saturday it had had enough, even though Gov. Jay Inslee wanted it to do more. In quick succession, the House and Senate passed a $3.6 billion spending plan for large capital construction projects with large majorities from both parties. In less than an hour, legislators adjourned their second special session and headed home.
There are things one learns after 153 days watching the Legislature. Well, technically not 153 days of watching, because there were big stretches of time in the 105-day regular session, the 30-day first special session and the 18-day second special session that there really was no Legislature to watch. Most of the honorables had gone home, and the few leaders and budget negotiators were squirreled away from the prying eyes of the public. But even when they were gone, there were lessons to be learned. Such as:
OLYMPIA – The state Senate on Saturday approved a budget plan similar to a proposal the chamber passed earlier this year during the regular session, but made some concessions on revenue if certain reform bills are passed. The budget passed on a 25-23 vote.
OLYMPIA – House Democrats offered to trim spending and drop many proposals on taxes as part of a compromise they say would allow the Washington Legislature to pass a 2013-15 operating budget before time runs out in the special session. The $33.6 billion plan for the next biennium spends an extra $700 million on public schools in an attempt to meet a state Supreme Court mandate, although that’s less than their leaders proposed at the beginning of the year.
SEATTLE – Students heading off to college in Washington next fall will have to wait awhile to find out how much tuition they’ll be paying. Since the Legislature went home without finishing the state budget, no one is sure whether Washington students will be getting a tuition increase, a cut, or neither. All three ideas have been proposed this year.
OLYMPIA – With four days left to pass three multibillion-dollar budgets and make the changes in state law that accompany them, House Democrats on Wednesday pushed through a $900 million package of tax changes they said would meet a court mandate to improve public schools. Republicans in the Senate and House said new taxes weren’t needed to pay for better schools, insisting the operating budget the Senate passed two weeks ago without new taxes was the way to go.
OLYMPIA – For almost 91 days the Legislature wrestled with a looming budget problem. For the first 90, it was even odds, at best, whether the Legislature would win. The final solution for the beleaguered operating budget – which included side deals on a separate capital construction budget as well as changes to state pensions, long-term budgeting and public school employee health care systems – evolved over the course of a 60-day regular session and a 30-day special session.
OLYMPIA – The longer the Legislature goes, the more readers call with suggestions on how to make it stop. Last week even featured a candidate for lieutenant governor suggesting that were he in charge (which the lieutenant governor is, in the Senate) he would remove the dividing aisle and move senators around so members of the two parties sat together. Yes, clearly the key to the budget impasse is a new seating chart and better feng shui.
OLYMPIA – The Legislature is headed into overtime over its troubled budget, although like most things dealing with spending this year, there are significant disagreements on the whats and whens of a special session. Gov. Chris Gregoire, who for days pushed for the Legislature to finish today, acknowledged Wednesday afternoon that’s not possible. She shifted the goal to having some kind of agreement on the budget by tonight, then coming back for a day or two to do “technical work” on that spending plan and pass it.
Funding for the Salvation Army’s Sally’s House, a safe harbor for children who have been abused or neglected, or whose parents have been jailed, was included in a budget passed early Saturday morning by 22 Senate Republicans and three Democrats, said State Sen. Mike Padden, R-Spokane Valley, a supporter of Sally’s House. That budget replaced a budget proposed by Senate Democrats that also included funding for the house. However, a budget written and passed by House Democrats, as well as Gov. Chris Gregoire’s proposed budget, cut all state funding for receiving care centers, including Sally’s House.
Three-year-old Kate lived in a dog crate in a meth house in Spokane and walked on hands and knees like an animal. Winston lived in a home with no running water or electricity. He was so dirty it took four changes of bath water to get him clean. Nathan, 8, was almost starved to death by an abusive family.
OLYMPIA – As the state Senate descended into an extended match of political jujitsu Friday, the word of the night – perhaps the entire legislative session – was “transparency.” It sprang so readily from the lips of legislators that it was important to remember the various sides meant something different as they claimed they had it and the other didn’t. In politics, people often use a word like Humpty Dumpty: It means what they say it means, nothing more and nothing less.
OLYMPIA – Republican leaders in the Legislature have been uniformly critical of same-sex marriage bills as the proposals worked their way through the two chambers on what can only be described as the fast track. An issue like this generates lots of buzz, both for and against, captures attention inside and outside the state, and – in a phrase that risks becoming overused – “sucks up all the oxygen.”