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I’m Mike Fitzsimmons with commentary on 920-KXLY…….
Lawmakers have been in session in Olympia since January 9th and so far nothing visible has been done toward addressing the billion-dollar plus budget gap facing Washington state. Republicans have no power to initiate these important discussions. They are in the minority and must wait for majority Democrats to take up the subject. One can easily see why Republican senators and representatives are anxious about the apparent indifference. Democrats say they want to wait until the state gets its next revenue projection. That won’t come until February 16th. The 60-day session ends on March 8th. Republicans argue that plenty can and should be done now in advance of the revenue forecast next month.
Among the things the minority says should be done immediately are contingency planning and budget prioritization. While the state’s finances go largely ignored and delayed, the legislature is spending too much time on such issues as gay marriage, abolishing the death penalty and banning plastic grocery bags. Republicans are also concerned about a billion-dollar spending plan Democrats are cooking up. They want to borrow the money to try to create construction jobs. The minority believes that permanent jobs will help the state rise from the effects of the recession and those kinds of jobs only come from the private sector.
The possibility of a special session still looms large. There might not be enough time to deal fully with the budget issues between February 16th and March 8th. Remember, lawmakers were called to a special session late last year designed to deal exclusively with what was then a $1.4 billion deficit. They did not complete the task, indeed they never intended to complete it, choosing to delay a comprehensive solution. There’s an old saying….the later it gets, the later it gets. This is what you call dithering. Remember this next November.
With commentary on 920 – KXLY, I’m Mike Fitzsimmons
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