By Jerry Cornfield
A fuming Gov. Chris Gregoire vowed today to begin vetoing bills unless lawmakers settle their differences and deliver her a supplemental budget.
“My frustration level is as high as it gets,” she told reporters. “If I don’t get a budget…I am going to start trickling out vetoes.”
She issued her threat after signing six bills and putting two dozen others on hold.
Gregoire was particularly loathsome of the revised budget proposal released earlier today by a coalition of 22 Senate Republicans and three moderate Democrats.
Coalition members call the plan a step forward toward a final agreement. They said a key aspect of the proposal is it funds elementary and secondary education in much the same manner as a budget passed last week by House Democrats. Earlier this month, the coalition pushed through a budget in the Senate that pared millions of dollars of funding from public schools and colleges.
Gregoire offered sarcastic praise for the education portion: “Yeah, late to the party but you got there.”
On balance, she considered it a wasted effort that “did not advance the ball” because it isn’t the product of negotiations with other caucuses.
And she was particularly peeved because only an hour before it got released she was meeting with budget writers of all four caucuses in her office — and it never got mentioned. It should have been brought up there rather than at a “theatrical performance” in the form of a press conference, she said.
Her anger spilled over at the inclusion of funding for a bill to allow charter schools – an idea rejected in the regular session.
“It’s a waste of everybody’s time. I will veto it,” she said of the bill. “I’ve told them, I will veto it.”