Gov. Jay Inslee stepped in today to "kick start" budget negotiations in hopes of getting a budget agreement on public services and our contracts by the end of this second special session nine days from now.
But he said he "is a little more concerned" this time that a state shutdown and temporary layoffs are likely because of the understandably tough decisions lawmakers have on fully funding education while funding public services and preserving the safety net.
Inslee convened the leaders of all four legislative caucuses this morning and ruled out a 30-day "stop-gap budget" in the face of the "glacial" pace of budget negotiations.
"They need to get their job done," Inslee told reporters.
The governor also called for lawmakers to step up on revenue options.
The second 30-day special session ends June 21.
The governor painted a fairly sober picture of what faces us the rest of June.
"The current status and pace of negotiations is highly unlikely to result in the passage of a sufficient operating budget before the session ends nine days from now unless there are meaningful changes in the pace of these negotiations," Inslee said.
But once again, state employees and the people we serve are left in limbo by the negotiations that are "too little, too slowly," he said.
"Here we are once again going through the totally unnecessary step of preparing for a government shutdown in a matter of weeks," Inslee said.
"So because of this delay, I have a job to do and it involves notifying state employees, vendors, the clients and customers we serve, which means the citizens of the state, that on July 1, state offices and services may not be available.
"I still believe it will not come to that and budget leaders assure me they intend to reach an agreement by then."
But the governor didn't specify if that agreement would come by the end of this session June 21 or by 11:59 p.m., June 30.
But we've seen this before. We need to continue to take action.
Take action now. Stop the shutdown!
Call your senator now at (206) 693-2926.
Tell them to get the job done and pass a budget that puts working families first and funds our contracts.