In an email to supporters today, eldercare advocate Jerry Reilly said the Senate's bipartisan budget plan released last night is "awful" for seniors. And he suggested that lawmakers simply table their budget proposals, go home to talk to constituents, and return June 1 in a special session to finish the budget.
Of course, Gov. Chris Gregoire gets to decide whether to summon lawmakers, and based on last year's experience, she hates the long special sessions and prefers the one-day wonders like in December. Of course, lawmakers could – if they had enough agreement – bring themselves in.
But Reilly is voicing what some budget writers already are thinking, while trying not to think too much about it. They face a daunting challenge: to finish work on or before April 24, which is both Easter and the scheduled final day of their 105-day regular session.
In rolling out the budget, Sen. Ed Murray, D-Seattle, conceded that it will be hard to pass all the supporting bills quickly enough to adjourn on time.
And Sen. Joseph Zarelli, the Republican budget co-author from Ridgefield, touched on the overtime question in a news release that also talked about the upside of the Senate’s bipartisan approach:
The Senate hears its version of Substitute House Bill 1087 at 2:30 today, and Murray made clear there are still hurdles. "The next step is to actually pass a budget off the Senate floor," he said.
Reilly's complaint about the budget includes a statement that it would lead to more human suffering. Here is an excerpt of his letter detailing some of the Senate cuts:
A link to the Senate budget highlights is is here. The full proposed Senate amendment to Engrossed Substitute House Bill 1087 is here. A Senate Republican primer on major structural reforms in the budget is here. Links to other budget documents go here.