Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Lawmakers discuss special-session progress

Posted By on Tue, Dec 13, 2011 at 3:40 PM

After two weeks, a special legislative session called by Washington Gov. Christine Gregoire to address a projected $2 billion budget shortfall is making slow progress.

Here are what lawmakers are saying about the process so far:

Rep. Kevin Parker (R-Spokane)

Parker writes in his District 6 email update that “little progress is being made” in the special session. But he has also frowned on some of the legislation put before him. In his update, he also mentions that he voted against a loan for a convention center in Wenatchee because he disagrees with how the loan is structured.

Meanwhile, Parker also welcomed the congressional delegation from Vietnam.

Rep. Susan Fagan (R-Pullman)

Fagan emphasizes in her constituent newsletter the importance of the Ways and Means Committee meetings. Her goal for the special session, she writes, is to eliminate or curb state agencies’ budgets significantly. She specifically cites the Department of Ecology’s $152 million dollar budget. She pointed to a report in the Clark County newspaper, The Columbian, that says that $22 million dollars set aside for stormwater permits is being used by the department to reduce its own deficit.

Sen. Lisa Brown (D-Spokane)

Brown told the Spokesman-Review last week that she didn’t believe the $2 billion budget deficit could be accounted for entirely in the session. She felt that they could account for between $100 million and $500 million, but she emphasized that the Ways and Means Committee needs to let the public voice their opinions. She also doubts that legislators will cut the Basic Health or Disability Lifeline programs, both of which provide health care to low-income people.

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