We have completed “Week Two” of an expensive and drawn-out special session. I would love to report the mission to solve a projected $2 billion shortfall was accomplished, but that wouldn’t be truthful. There is little progress and a there seems to be a lack of urgency by the majority party to address the shortfall.
On Sept. 22, the governor announced she would be calling for the special session to begin on Nov. 28, so budget writers and party leaders would have more than two months to prepare and work on solutions. The news this week isn’t about what is being accomplished, but when the Legislature may adjourn, rather than closing the shortfall and how to make the spending adjustments. The Seattle Times article published earlier this week, “Governor’s office asks Legislature to hurry up,” explains the longer we wait, the more difficult the problem. Many of the governor’s proposed savings have implementation dates of January. Within the last day we are seeing reports in the media about putting the budget off until the 2012 session and leaving town. You can read: Legislature leaning to make cuts next year in The Seattle Times, and More foot-dragging in The Columbian.
An agreement may be reached on some smaller or less controversial budget issues (Budget negotiators aim for partial solution), but as this article points out, everything seems to be controversial.
On our side of the aisle, House Republicans are working through a lengthy and detailed process called “Priorities of Government (POG).” We using this approach to outline our priorities in the budget: education, public safety and protecting our most vulnerable. This process also allows us to look at the role of government and whether or not we are funding programs and services outside of its core functions. (...more)