The three state legislative special sessions this year – needed because House Democrats could not find the votes for a balanced budget until a government shutdown deadline was upon them – cost taxpayers more than $440,000 in daily expenses and travel costs, though that tally is still incomplete. The final total could top $500,000, according to The News Tribune,
“This year’s special session costs were driven up by the sheer length of time lawmakers spent in session — 176 days, the most the Legislature has ever met during a single year — as well as a recent increase in their daily expense stipend, or per diem rate.
“Since 2014, lawmakers have been allowed $120 per day to help pay for expenses such as food and lodging while the Legislature is in session, while previously they could claim only $90 per day.
“For those reasons, lawmakers’ per diem and expense costs in 2015 were higher than they were two years ago, when legislators required two 30-day special sessions to complete their work.”
The 2015 legislative session lasted into July because Jay Inslee and House Democrats refused to give up on their tax-hike agenda until a third special session started. Making matters worse, negotiations were stalled for months as state House Democrats refused to do their jobs and pass an actual budget – or consider the balanced budget first passed in April by the Republican-majority state Senate. The reality was that the House Democrats could never find the votes needed for the tax increases that would fund their big-government spending binge, leaving them eventually with no choice to admit defeat, and vote on the Senate’s no-new-taxes budget priorities.