State legislators found out about the state Supreme Court’s McCleary decision-based $100,000 per day fine on the state the same way most others did… via the media. The court’s decision to not first inform state officials —who, after all, are the defendants in the case —left lawmakers on both sides of the aisle more than a little frustrated. The Yakima Herald,
“Reps. Norm Johnson, R-Yakima, and Sam Hunt, D-Olympia, who was in Yakima on Thursday, found out about the ruling from the media…
“‘I thought it was strange they released the press release with their decision before they informed the Legislature what they were doing,’ [Johnson] said.”
Of course, that’s not the only reason why lawmakers are frustrated over the court’s ruling. The Yakima Herald,
“Both parties are left to wonder why their efforts to increase education spending in this year’s series of special sessions — with strong bipartisanship, the two added — were not enough…
“New taxes, such as the failed capital gains tax or a state income tax, are out of the question for Republicans, said Johnson. A capital gains tax might get a few more Democratic votes in the House, added Hunt, but likely not enough to pass.”
Both Johnson and Hunt went on to question the court’s jurisdiction. Certainly, as Shift reported, the order presents quite a dilemma. After all, enforcing the court’s fine on the state would require lawmakers to vote on appropriations to fine the state.
As a side note, Hunt admitted what Shift said all along: Frank Chopp did not have the votes to pass new taxes out of the state House. That’s why Democrats repeatedly refused to vote on their tax proposals and entered budget negotiations with a spending package rather than, well, an actual budget.