Jay Inslee does not appear to have a lot of faith in the Democrats in the State House managing to move a budget out next week, so negotiations can start with the Senate and allow the state Legislature to adjourn in a timely manner. Earlier this month, Inslee directed the Office of Financial Management (OFM) to order state agencies to review and update the 2013contingency plan “should any circumstance prevent the Legislature from making appropriations.”
A letter sent by OFM to state agencies reads,
“As you will recall, OFM coordinated contingency planning for a partial shutdown of state government in the event that the 2013-15 operating and capital budgets were not enacted by June 30, 2013…
“We need agencies to review the information provided in 2013 and determine if any updates are needed and add any new services, if appropriate.”
OFM’s letter gave rise to skepticism over the legitimacy of Inslee’s fears over a partial government shutdown. According to the Seattle Times, “similar instructions went out in mid-June 2013… as lawmakers scrambled to reach a budget compromise before the fiscal year began July 1.”
Certainly, Inslee’s letter is a necessary step if, in an event of a partial government shutdown, Democrats are to successfully blame the Republicans—something they attempted to do last time around.
If Inslee were not playing politics – and was seriously concerned over the possibility of a government shutdown – he would instead publically encourage (or even warn) Democrat lawmakers in the state House to introduce and pass their version of the 2015-17 budget next week. As GOP state Sen. Andy Hill wrote, sticking to that deadline would go a long way toward Democrats proving they are interested in honest budget negotiations.