Our Views: Finish the People’s Work and Go Home, Lawmakers


It had become something of a running joke, the idea that the current legislative session would end on time. 

What’s less than laughable is that expecting our elected officials to finish their work is now seen as an attempt at humor. 

The House budget chairman, Rep. Ross Hunter, said Tuesday that lawmakers will be unable to wrap up negotiations by Sunday, when the 105-day session is scheduled to come to a close. 

He cited ongoing discussions over the budget — which must be merged with the tax-free vision of Senate Republicans — as well as the need to come to an agreement on education funding in light of the McCleary decision and the state Supreme Court’s insistence that it be adhered to. 

“There’s not even close to a chance of agreement,” then Medina Democrat said. 

State. Sen. John Braun, R-Centralia, correctly noted in a press release this week that the issue of the budget would be a lot simpler if House Democrats would simply vote on the tax increases they have proposed. 

The Senate has brought forth a complete budget that relies on existing revenues rather than further taxing the already overburdened residents of Washington. 

Democrats have yet to hold a vote on the tax measures they claim will balance their own version of the budget. 

“With only 5 days left, the House Democrats have failed to bring their proposed tax increases to a vote for their budget proposal that won’t balance without the increase of $1.5 billion in new taxes,” Braun said in the Tuesday press release. “The Senate passed a complete, no-new-taxes budget that invests in education. We continue to wait for the House to come to the negotiating table with a complete budget, not just a spending plan. That’s how we can finish the people’s business on time and on budget.”

Meanwhile, other power players in Olympia are asking lawmakers to use the special session to focus on other business.

Gov. Jay Inslee used Earth Day as a platform Wednesday to request more action on his climate agenda. 

According to The Associated Press, he said the “extended lawmaking session needs to result in new laws on carbon pollution, oil-train safety and toxic pollutants that show up in the state’s fish.”

No, the extended session needs to result in a budget and a plan for funding education in a way that satisfies the McCleary decision. 

The time for personal agenda items and wish-list legislation has passed. 

Finish the work of the people and go home. 

It’s not a laughing matter.