The Washington state Legislature approved a supplemental budget Wednesday, setting the stage for adjournment of a double overtime legislative session.
The Senate passed the measure on a 44-2 bipartisan vote, sending it to the governor for her signature. The House earlier passed the negotiated agreement on a 64-34 vote. Lawmakers worked through the early morning hours passing several bills before taking up the budget. Gov. Chris Gregoire had called lawmakers back into a second special session at midnight Tuesday after they failed to complete their work by the end of the first 30-day special session.
The budget plan relies heavily on a $238 million accounting maneuver, in which the state would temporarily claim control of local sales taxes before they are redistributed back to jurisdictions at their usual time — roughly a month after they are collected. Some social safety net programs that were at risk of being cut were preserved, and lawmakers didn’t make cuts to K-12 or higher education, as they have in past budgets.
The budget increases taxes by eliminating a tax deduction for some large banks. It also brings in some $12 million by changing rules on roll-your-own cigarettes. Lawmakers plan to leave some $320 million in reserves.
Even though any special session can run up to 30 days, Gregoire said early Wednesday that lawmakers agreed to a one-day session. Lawmakers had been passing bills tied to the budget right up until the deadline, but weren’t able to move everything before time ran out.
The flurry of activity over the past two days was the culmination of months of negotiations over how to close a roughly half-billion-dollar shortfall for the two-year budget cycle ending June 2013. (AP)