Lawmakers have 4 days left to reach budget deal

Staff writerMarch 10, 2014 

The Legislative Building in Olympia, Wash. is shown in this file photo from Jan. 3, 2013.

TONY OVERMAN — The Olympian Buy Photo

With the Legislature set to adjourn on Thursday, lawmakers have little time left to come to an agreement on a supplemental operating budget.

Austin Jenkins of the Northwest News Network reports that in order to finish on Thursday, the scheduled end of the 60-day legislative session, lawmakers will have to start this week with a budget deal in hand.

"That’s because it takes time to write, proofread, print and vote on a final budget bill. Even more time is needed if budget writers want to give lobbyists and the public a day to digest what’s in the spending plan," Jenkins reports.

Gov. Jay Inslee has been unclear as to whether he'd be willing to call the Legislature back to Olympia for a special session if lawmakers fail to act on issues such as a transportation package, which the governor has indicated is a priority.

(Read Jenkins' take on the Legislature's final days here.)

Meanwhile, Jerry Cornfield of the Everett Herald predicts that disagreement over whether to fund cost-of-living increases for teachers will be one of lawmakers' biggest challenges to overcome in the next few days.

Lawmakers also are facing pressure to change the state's teacher evaluation system to keep Washington's waiver from the federal No Child Left Behind Act.

Read Cornfield's preview of the final days of the 2014 session here.

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