State prepares for possible shutdown



OLYMPIA — Washington state agencies are working to identify which areas of government will need to cease operations if the Legislature fails to pass a budget over the next 18 days.

Gov. Jay Inslee held a cabinet meeting Wednesday night to discuss plans for what would happen after June 30, when the current budget cycle comes to an end. While the governor’s aides haven’t concluded which areas would need to shut down, they said potentially thousands of state employees could begin getting notifications about the prospect of temporary layoffs as early as next week.

“If government shuts down, you’re going to feel it. Everybody in the state’s going to feel it,” said Inslee spokesman David Postman.

Inslee has tasked agency leaders with identifying which of their services do not require a budget appropriation and which parts are a matter of immediate public safety.

The effort may just be an exercise if the Legislature finalizes a deal in the coming days. Budget negotiators are squabbling over how to spend government dollars over the next two years and have made little progress.