Republicans Say WA Democrats Are Ignoring Key Task of Budget to Push SSM


The Seattle Times:

Republican lawmakers Wednesday decried what they say is slow action on progress to close a $1 billion budget gap.

In a meeting with reporters, House and Senate GOP leaders said too much time has been spent on hot-button issues from gay marriage to plastic-bag bans to abolishing the death penalty. The legislative session is nearly a quarter of the way complete and there is no timeline on when a draft budget will be circulated, they said.

"I do not want to get to the end of the 60-day session potentially looking at a special session and then just wasting more taxpayer dollars," said Sen. Janea Holmquist Newbry, R-Moses Lake. "So let's get to work."

Lawmakers returned Jan. 9, tasked with addressing a projected deficit of about $1 billion through June 2013.

Gov. Chris Gregoire wants a buffer of several hundred million dollars in case the economy underperforms, meaning legislators will have to make about $1.5 billion in cuts or find new revenue.