State Republicans renew demand for special session

There aren’t many weeks left in this year but Republican lawmakers in Olympia are demanding a special session to deal with a $4 billion budget shortfall.

“We have been calling for a special session because it’s legislative work. It’s legislative policy making that solves these problems, not proclamations,” said State Rep. Andrew Barkis.

At last week’s debate, Gov. Inslee pointed out that he’s already made significant cuts in the state budget.

“I actually have cut over half a billion dollars myself by executive action in the last two months,” he said at last week’s debate.

State employees got to keep the raises called for in their union contract.

“Look, I’m not against state employees by in these times, it’s been paramount to, prioritize those that have been most vulnerable in what we’re dealing with today,” said State Sen. Shelly Short, who represents Addy.

Ferndale Sen. Doug Ericksen added, “Having Governor Inslee deny us the ability to meet in special legislative session. So that voices from all over Washington state could be heard, I think is really harming us as a state right now.”

State Rep. Jacqulin Maycumber of Republic said, “Who do we need to protect now? Who is the most vulnerable then let’s talk about out what the priorities are?”

But with so many jobs lost to the pandemic-- Inslee worries a special session will focus only on budget cuts.

“We should not take away health care from people who have cancer or COVID right now in the middle of a pandemic, we should not take away their mental health.”

And despite the damage done by the pandemic, Inslee points out the latest revenue forecast sliced the previous $9 billion revenue loss in half.

“I’ve been vindicated in my decision about special session because we have got four and a half billion dollars, extra revenue moving forward.”

Inslee says he’ll proposed detailed tax and revenue plan in December.