Gov. Jay Inslee and legislative leaders from the House and Senate announced Saturday afternoon they have reached a budget agreement that will avoid a government shutdown, although a third special session is required to finalize the deal.
Without divulging any numbers, Inslee said the budget takes a takes a “significant step” in funding K-12 schools and makes “historic investments” in early childhood learning.
Teachers and state workers will receive the first cost-of-living pay raise since 2008, the governor said.
The budget also “eases the burden” of rising tuition at the state’s colleges and universities, Inslee said. Tuition was one of the remaining sticking points between the GOP-led Senate and House Democrats. The Senate called for a 25 percent tuition cut, while the House proposed a tuition freeze. Inslee did not release the compromise figure.
State parks will also get enhanced funding in the budget.
“If you have a reservation at our state park system for next weekend, two good things will happen,” Inslee said. Parks will get additional money to “keep the roofs from falling down” at the picnic shelters, he said, and people won’t have to worry about a government shutdown cancelling their Fourth of July plans.
State government would be forced into a partial shutdown if a budget is not adopted by June 30. Inslee said he is confident that will not happen.
The second special session officially ended Saturday, and a third special session will begin Sunday.
“Hundreds of important but minor details” have yet to be resolved, Inslee said. Legislative leaders say they plan to have the budget details made public within 48 hours.
Lead Democratic budget writer Rep. Ross Hunter said the budget is likely to pass out of both chambers on Monday evening.
“We feel very strongly this is a great budget,” said House Speaker Frank Chopp.
Lead Republican budget writer Sen. Andy Hill said the budget meets the priorities laid out by his caucus this year, which proposed a no-new-taxes approach.
The final agreement does close some tax breaks, while extending other tax preferences that will result in a net gain of revenue for the state.
“It’s part of the compromise,” Hill said.
TVW taped the press conference. Watch it below.