The 2015 legislative session is scheduled to wrap-up in the next couple weeks but judging from their recent behavior, Democrats do not appear too concerned over the prospect of failing to meet the deadline. With negotiation sessions beginning this week, “the two sides remain deeply at odds over tax increases and pay raises for public employees.” And, Jay Inslee isn’t helping.
On Friday, Inslee managed to add to budget tensions when he made certain demands to legislators during a closed-door session. Republican lawmakers say Inslee threatened to veto any budget bill that does not raise taxes. The Seattle Times,
“A day earlier, Inslee met briefly with House and Senate leaders of both parties — a so-called “five corners” meeting — and laid out his expectations for “what I need to see in a budget that comes to my desk if you expect me to sign it,” according to a copy of the governor’s speaking points provided by his office.
“‘Nothing here is new. It’s what I’ve told you all many times,’ the governor said.”
Inslee’s demands include fully funding state employee pay raises, which he negotiated with union executives in secret at a cost of nearly $1 billion to taxpayers. Additionally, Inslee said he would not “accept borrowing from the state capital budget, vague “efficiency” savings, nor sign any tax cut” until his demand is met.
Republicans called out Inslee’s threats for what they are: unhelpful and overly partisan. The Seattle Times,
“‘It was a bit of an ultimatum … I walked out of there thinking, ‘Wow, he just told us we’ve got to run his budget or the House (Democrats’) budget or we’re gonna shut this place down,’ ” said Sen. John Braun, R-Centralia, one of the Senate GOP budget negotiators who attended.
“‘I think he’s committed to taxes at all costs,” said Senate Majority Leader Mark Schoesler, R-Ritzville, who was also at the meeting.”
Inslee’s demands should come as no surprise. As Shift reported, Inslee is dedicated to ensuring the 2015-17 budget rewards his million dollar campaign donors.