I spelled out the main differences in the two budgets and revenue proposals earlier today.
(The Washington Budget & Policy Center does a good job spelling out the differences between the proposals here.)
With the two houses at odds over how to deal with the $2.8 billion shortfall to fund the state's current $30 plus billion budget, Gov. Chris Gregoire tonight called for a special session to start on Monday.
Here's her office's press statement. (The bold is mine. It's a nod to Southwest Snohomish County Rep. Hans Dunshee (D-44). I explain it below.)
Gregoire tonight signed a proclamation to convene a special session of the Legislature beginning Monday, March 15th, and has asked Senate and House leadership to focus on reaching a compromise budget and revenue package to close the state’s $2.8 billion gap, as well as legislation to create jobs. Gregoire is urging the House and Senate to complete their work in a seven day session.
“We have to move forward with a jobs package that puts more Washingtonians to work. Jobs are the way out of this recession. We need a package that puts people to work quickly,” Gregoire said. “And we have to find a balanced approach that combines difficult cuts and new revenue to fill our budget gap.”
Gregoire pointed out that state spending has already been cut sharply. Lawmakers approved nearly $3 billion in cuts during the last legislative session. This session, Gregoire proposed trimming another $1 billion from state services.
“I will continue to work with leaders in the House and Senate to find the right approach to cuts and revenue that will keep Washington on the path to economic recovery,” Gregoire said. “Under any of the budget proposals now on the table, we will have cut far more in spending than we will raise in revenue. Lawmakers have been working hard, and I know they will continue to do so until we reach an agreement.”
Again, the bold is my nod to Rep. Dunshee. When I asked him earlier today for a status report on his $186 million bond proposal for doing green retrofits of public schools, he told me (presciently? and smiling): "Well, the governor is realizing, 'Oh, we don't have any jobs.'"
His proposal passed the House with the enthusiastic support of House Speaker Rep. Frank Chopp, but has sat idle in the Senate Ways & Means Committee since late January. Until today that is, when the Senate moved it to the Rules Committee and queued it up for a vote.
Previously, the Senate had belittled Dunshee's idea saying reduced revenue had crippled the state's bonding capacity and there was no way to authorize new projects.