Dear friends and neighbors,
As most of you know, the Legislature is in the middle of a second special session to pass a new two-year budget for our state.
Because control of the Legislature is divided (Republicans hold the Senate, Democrats hold the House), negotiation and compromise are necessary to come up with a budget that can pass both chambers.
Unfortunately, time is running out. The current fiscal period ends on June 30th, and if a budget agreement isn’t reached by then, state government will shut down. That’s because by law, the state can’t spend money without a budget in place.
A shutdown – even for a few days – would have very real, very harmful consequences for families, communities, and our economy. Nearly every state service would be impacted in some way.
When I’m not working as a legislator, my job is in the public health sector. For the Tacoma-Pierce County Health Department, a shutdown would be devastating. It would affect critical front-line staff like public health nurses.
Click the video below for specific examples of cuts.
Even if we avoid taking the state off this cliff – and I remain hopeful we can avoid it – a lot of agencies, vendors, and employees (and their families) are experiencing stress and uncertainty right now. The ripple effects of this uncertainty are harmful to our state.
The only way a budget passes is if everybody – Democrats and Republicans – shows up at the negotiating table, willing to work. We’ve had two months since the end of the regular session, and although the House Democratic negotiating team has been in Olympia every day and asked the Senate Republicans to sit down, dig in, and negotiate the full budget multiple times, the request has not yet been accepted.
To be clear, I don’t expect either the current House or Senate versions of the budget will pass. I do expect that we will sit down at the negotiating table, COMPROMISE, and come to agreement on a budget that provides Washingtonians the services we expect and deserve. And while compromise is necessary, I’m also committed to work 24/7 to ensure the budget represents our state’s values. This means fully funding our K-12 schools without harming the most vulnerable in our communities.
I still believe we can get this done. But the clock is ticking.
If you have concerns or questions about the state budget, or a potential government shutdown, please don’t hesitate to contact me. We’re all in this together.