The Washington Legislature is about to complete the first special session called by Governor Jay Inslee without an agreement on a two year budget for the state. The Governor has promised to call a second special session immediately should no agreement get hammered out in the next few days. An earlier than normal budget forecast provided a rosier estimate of biennial revenues which has changed the political calculus just a bit. The Democrats have responded by pulling a large tax package from the conversation, but are still proposing the advent of a capital gains tax to address two key spending issues – transportation and education. The Republicans remain committed to a no new taxes position. Given that the state fiscal year ends on June 30th, a budget deal is presumed to be haggled out between the parties before the end of next month. Caught in the crosshairs of the operations budget fight is the two-year capital appropriation. No progress or discussion has been seen on this budget over the past few weeks as lawmakers posture their positions on the operational budget.
The Oregon Legislature is set to end on June 26th this year. Policy committee work is drawing to a close and attention will be focused on the ways and means committee work. Transportation is also a major focus in the state with a big push from the Brown administration for a transportation package. The jury is still out as to whether there is sufficient legislative support for the idea.