This Washington

Oly Update: Special Session at Hand. Sales Tax at Issue.

By Josh Feit March 11, 2010

Today's the last day of session in Olympia. Sorta. Look for a special session on the intractable budget negotiations between the House—"NO SALES TAX!"—and Senate—"THE HOUSE'S REVENUE PACKAGE IS OUT OF WHACK!"— starting tomorrow or, more likely, next week. (Tuesday to be specific, but it's up to the Governor.)

The Senate's specific complaints about the House budget: The Senate isn't into closing a $67 million exemption for banks nor the $30.5 million exemption for candy and gum.

Other differences: The House budget has more funding—$90 million—for General Assistance for the Unemployable and between $50 to $100 million more in the Housing Trust Fund. The House wants to float $186 million in bonds for green retrofits of schools and give Pierce and Snohomish County the power to raise more transit money. And the House wants to add $1 billion in funding to the education reform bill.

Liberal House Members Reps. Hans Dunshee (D-44) and Timm Ormsby (D-3)

Before you accuse the Senate of being big meanies

(by the way, they're funding $30 million childcare for the working poor and the House is not), consider this: After the Blue-Green Alliance (the House's enviro/labor liberal caucus) got almost everything it wanted—like $8 million for environmental clean up programs, $65 million for state worker health care, and $1.7 million for adult day health care—and reinstated a $20 million tax exemption for janitorial services, the House budget doesn't balance. It's currently off by $70 million.

Oh, and the House is also relying on (um) $71 million in Obama health care money to fund GA-U.

Budget mess aside, Joshua Cohen and I will be posting a big rundown at the end of the day on all the policy bills PubliCola has been watching this session. From the ACLU's fight against the reactionary fallout from the Lakewood shootings to Planned Parenthood's attempt to expose bait-and-switch women's health clinics to legislation about biker safety, education reform, and regulating banks, we will let you know what got done and what didn't.
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