• Emerald Downs races will be suspended in case of government shut down

    By: KIRO 7 STAFF

    Updated:

    WASHINGTON - If lawmakers don't pass a budget by the start of the fiscal year - July 1, some government agencies and services could shut down. 

    Just one of many impacts: Races at Emerald Downs would be suspended if lawmakers don't pass a budget by June 30.

    The state started to send out notices on Friday to state employee unions and contractors warning of temporary layoffs. Formal layoff notices have not gone out.

    Click here to read contingency planning for state agency operations.

    Governor Jay Inslee proclaimed a second special session on Thursday so lawmakers can pass a state operating budget. 

    This second special session started Friday will rack up the bill for taxpayers. Past special sessions cost an estimated $22,000 a day.

    Inslee says he's confident they'll have a budget done long before the deadline.

    The following is a breakdown of a couple of sticking points in the budget. 

    <br>Education       

    Education remains at the center of the disagreement between lawmakers on the operating budget: How much to pay teachers and reduce class sizes, and should there be new taxes, like a capital gains tax on the rich to help pay for education.

    Republicans say new revenues generated by the growing economy should be enough without raising taxes.

    “When you have 500 million additional dollars just in the last month, I have a hard time going to the voters and saying we're going to raise your taxes as well,” said Senate Ways and Means Chair Andy Hill.

    But Governor Inslee and his fellow Democrats say the Republican numbers still don’t add up.

    “We ought to take that good news and build on it but not be Pollyannaish and think you can do this all with twinkle dust. There are going to have to be real dollars available to run the state government and that will require some additional revenue,” the Governor said at a late afternoon news conference.

    <br>Transportation

    Traffic congestion made the governor Jay Inslee late for his Thursday  event to push for a new transportation package.

    People here are focused on extending Highway 509 from Kent to Sea-Tac Airport, thereby creating a highway link to the busy Port of Seattle.

    And on extending Highway 167 from Puyallup to create a highway link to the busy Port of Tacoma.

    Supporters say extending 167 and 509 would not only benefit the freight companies but drivers who are now caught up behind a lot of trucks. The Price tag is roughly 1.8 billion dollars.

    “As we start building additional infrastructure you'll unlock significant economic development,” said Republican Senate Ways and Means Chair Andy Hill.

    But as the legislature enters a second special session-- there's still no assurance a new transportation package will pass.

    “It is not guaranteed,” said Senate Democratic Leader Sharon Nelson. “I have not heard from the Republicans that they are willing to take a gas tax vote again. It will have to be a bi-partisan vote.”

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