Democrats have given up their call for a capital gains tax as Washington lawmakers continue wrangling over a two-year budget plan, focusing on closing some tax breaks instead.
The surrender on taxes came as Gov. Jay Inslee said Friday that there is no reason Washington state lawmakers shouldn’t agree on an operating budget next week. He urged legislators to compromise and move swiftly to avert a partial government shutdown.
“We need to have a budget for the state of Washington,” Inslee told reporters on Friday.
There’s an approximate $300 million to $350 million gap between the current Republican and Democratic budget proposals.
Senate Republicans struck an optimistic tone on Friday and said they are open to examining tax breaks that may no longer be beneficial.
Sen. Andy Hill, R-Redmond, the Republicans’ chief negotiator, said “both sides have made movements.”
“At the end of the day, it’s going to be a great budget,” Hill said.
Republicans are considering the “no new tax” budget now being considered in Olympia a victory.
“In March, we released a budget that fully funds education and makes college affordable without new taxes. We’ve held to these principles and are grateful that both the governor and House have agreed to support them. With new taxes off the table and a commitment to reducing tuition to make college affordable again, we should be able to work through the weekend to reach a final resolution,” Hill wrote on his Senate website.
Lawmakers are in the midst of a second special legislative session. If they don’t agree on a two-year operating budget by June 30, the government will partially shut down. On Tuesday, more than 25,000 state employees could receive temporary layoff notices.
Discussions of a state transportation package are on hold until lawmakers strike a deal on the operating budget.
Two years ago, lawmakers came close to a government shutdown but struck a deal in the final hours.
Lawmakers have until June 27 before the current special legislative session ends.