The Washington State Legislature gaveled out of the 2015 regular session Friday – two days earlier than the 105-day regular session was scheduled to end, but still weeks or more away from a budget deal.
Late in the session, lawmakers said they’d need more time to reach an agreement on how to fund the state for the next two years. The Democrat-led House and GOP-controlled Senate are still far apart on the basics.
House leaders say more revenue is needed to fully fund education and more as the state faces Supreme Court sanctions after an unprecedented court ruling. But the Senate is sticking with a no-new taxes proposal.
Gov. Jay Inslee on Thursday announced a 30-day special session beginning April 29. The two chambers will have to make some concessions to find an agreement, he said.
“It is time to compromise and for all of us to compromise,” he said during a press conference earlier in the week. “I understand I won’t be getting everything I proposed, and I have told lawmakers they each need to now starting moving towards each other’s position. The House is going to have to find a way to reduce spending and the Senate will have to add revenue.”
Both sides will also have to compromise on a $15 billion transportation plan. The House and Senate agree state projects should be funded with a nearly 12-cent gas tax increase, but they’re stuck on the details.
The special session can adjourn before the full 30 days if they reach a deal. If not, Inslee can announce another special session to give lawmakers more time.