Evan Smith: Local legislators don’t expect special session

Friday, November 26, 2010

By Evan Smith
ShorelineAreaNews Politics Writer

Newspaper editorials have called for a special legislative session to deal with what 32nd District Democratic State Rep. Ruth Kagi calls a “grim” budget situation, but local legislators say that it's unlikely because there is no legislative budget agreement.

When the state got bad revenue news last summer, legislative leaders told Gov. Chris Gregoire they couldn’t agree on budget cuts; so she ordered 6 percent across-the-board cuts rather than call a special session.

Now, the governor may have to make further across-the-board cuts if she doesn’t call a special session to make targeted cuts.

Gregoire has given legislative leaders until Monday to give her plans for specific actions if she were to call a special session.

Retiring 32nd District Democratic State Sen. Darlene Fairley says that’s unlikely.

“The House and Senate have indicated that won’t happen,” she said early this week, adding that newspapers calling for a special session are “beating a dead horse.”

Kagi was still hoping for an agreement last weekend.

“A special session could happen if agreement could be reached ahead of time on cuts,” Kagi said. “There is no point calling everyone back unless there is agreement. If there is no special session, we would probably have an agreement at the beginning of session and pass it the first week.”

Maralyn Chase, still in the State House until she takes the Fairley Senate position in January, says there is not yet a serious proposal to discuss.

Chase added that the Legislature might consider eliminating some special tax exemptions.

She said that the Seattle Times and other newspapers are welcome to contribute to budget discussions as everyone is.

Chase noted that some tax exemptions that could be discussed go to newspapers like the Times. 

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