GOP refusal to work on capital budget threatens projects

OLYMPIA — With a critical deadline near, Senate Republicans’ refusal to negotiate a new capital budget could mean dozens of nonprofit groups and Edmonds Community College will not receive state funds they’ve sought to expand services and construct new buildings.

GOP senators are insisting an agreement be reached on water rights policy in the wake of the Hirst decision before they’ll engage in talks on a capital spending plan, a historic fount of funds for public schools and colleges, community groups and youth organizations throughout Washington.

But the Republican-led Senate and Democrat-controlled House entered the weekend at an impasse on a response to the court’s Hirst ruling, which effectively eliminated the ability of property owners to drill a well without a permit.

Now, with a potential shutdown looming this week, lawmakers could run out of time to iron out differences between the proposed capital budgets each chamber passed in April. This could lead them to enacting a budget that only funds previously approved contracts and makes no new appropriations.

Under this scenario, Edmonds Community College would wind up not getting $37.8 million to build a new Science, Engineering and Technology building and the city of Edmonds might lose out on $2.25 million for its planned waterfront community center.

Those are two of several projects in Snohomish County at risk of not receiving funds. Others include a pocket park in Arlington, restoration of Japanese Gulch Creek in Mukilteo, construction of a new civic center in Lake Stevens and expansion of Cocoon House services for homeless youth in Everett.

“I’m very frustrated,” said Rep. Steve Tharinger, D-Dungeness, chairman of the House Capital Budget Committee. “If they continue to have that nexus with Hirst, it becomes pretty challenging.”

If senators want to make sure those organizations are supported, the two sides must settle on budget language by Wednesday, he said.

Senate Majority Leader Mark Schoesler, R-Ritzville, on Friday, did not forecast an outcome. He offered an assurance the building of new classrooms and schools would not be ignored.

“If for some reason things didn’t work out, we wouldn’t forget about school construction,” he said.

Tharinger said he’s not willing to do a partial budget with limited new appropriations. It’s either a bare-bones or complete budget, he said.

The capital budget is one of two spending plans lawmakers need to act on by midnight Friday to prevent any interruption in state-funded programs and services.

The other is the two-year operating budget that funds the day-to-day operations of state government. Lawmakers must deliver an operating budget to Gov. Jay Inslee before midnight Friday otherwise many government activities will halt and roughly 32,000 workers will be laid off starting Saturday.

House and Senate budget negotiators planned to work through the weekend to try to complete a deal.

Jerry Cornfield: 360-352-8623; Twitter: @dospueblos.

Talk to us

More in Local News

The Safeway store at 4128 Rucker Ave., on Wednesday, Nov. 29, 2023, in Everett, Washington. (Mike Henneke / The Herald)
Police: Everett Safeway ex-worker accused of trying to ram customers

The man, 40, was showing symptoms of psychosis, police wrote. Officers found him circling another parking lot off Mukilteo Boulevard.

Lynnwood Mayor Christine Frizzell speaks during a ribbon cutting ceremony to celebrate the completion of the 196th ST SW Improvement Project near the 196th and 44th Ave West intersection in Lynnwood, Washington on Tuesday, Aug. 15, 2023. (Annie Barker / The Herald)
Jarred by anti-Semitic rants, Lynnwood council approves tax increase

Three people spewed hate speech via Zoom at a council meeting this week. Then, the council moved on to regular business.

The county canvassing board certifies election results at the Snohomish County Auditor’s Office in Everett, Washington on Tuesday, Nov. 28, 2023.  (Annie Barker / The Herald)
General election results stamped official by canvassing board

In Snohomish County, one hand recount will take place. Officials said ballot challenges were down this year.

The Days Inn on Everett Mall Way, which Snohomish County is set to purchase and convert into emergency housing, is seen Monday, Aug. 8, 2022, in Everett, Washington. (Ryan Berry / The Herald)
Over $130M for affordable housing set to be approved by County Council

The five-year investment plan of the 0.1% sales tax aims to construct 550 new affordable units.

Two snowboarders head up the mountain in a lift chair on the opening day of ski season at Stevens Pass Ski Area on Friday, Dec. 2, 2022, near Skykomish, Washington. (Ryan Berry / The Herald)
Ski season delayed at Stevens Pass due to minimal snow

Resort originally planned to open Dec. 1. But staff are hopeful this week’s snow will allow guests to hit the slopes soon.

Siblings Qingyun, left, and Ruoyun Li, 12 and 13, respectively, are together on campus at Everett Community College on Thursday, Oct. 19, 2023, in Everett, Washington. The two are taking a full course load at the community college this semester. (Ryan Berry / The Herald)
Siblings, age 12 and 13, are youngest students at EvCC campus

Qingyun Li was 11 when he scored a perfect 36 on the ACT test. His sister, Ruoyun, was one point away.

Edmond’s newly elected mayor Mike Rosen on Wednesday, Nov. 15, 2023 in Edmonds, Washington. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)
Mayor-elect Rosen wants to ‘make Edmonds politics boring again’

Mike Rosen handily defeated incumbent Mayor Mike Nelson. He talked with The Herald about how he wants to gather the “full input” of residents.

Graffiti covers the eastern side of the Boys & Girls Clubs of Snohomish County Cascade Unit on Friday, Dec. 1, 2023 in Everett, Washington. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)
Again, Boys and Girls Club tagged with suspected gang signs in Everett

Residents on Cascade Drive say their neighborhood has been the scene of excessive graffiti and sometimes gunfire in the past year.

Pam and Ken Owens, of Granite Falls,  stop to take cell phone photos of the flooding along Lincoln Avenue on Monday, Nov. 15, 2021 in Snohomish, Washington. The couple were planing to take the road to Monroe for lunch.   (Andy Bronson / The Herald)
Brace for flooding: Weeklong storm to pummel Snohomish County

Weekend weather may pose problems as meteorologists project flooding near Snohomish and Monroe and officials plan for outages.

An STI clinic opened Friday, Dec. 1, 2023 in Everett, Washington. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)
Free STI clinic opens in Everett after 14-year hiatus — and as rates spike

The county-run facility will provide treatment and resources for prevention of sexually transmitted infections.

Offloading ferry traffic is stopped to allow pedestrians to cross the street at the Edmonds ferry dock on Friday, Sept. 21, 2018 in Edmonds. (Andy Bronson / The Herald)
2-ferry service restored on Edmonds-Kingston route — for a weekend

M/V Salish, one of the system’s smallest vessels, will fill in through Sunday after weeks of one boat on the route.

Marysville Pilchuck High School students talk with Snohomish County council members Jared Mead and Nate Nate Nehring during a Civic Engagement Day event hosted at the county campus on Thursday, Jan. 12, 2023 in Everett, Washington. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)
At Everett event, Mead, Nehring look to bridge partisan gap

Two Snohomish County Council members can pinpoint the day they really started talking about putting civility over partisanship. It was Jan. 6.

Support local journalism

If you value local news, make a gift now to support the trusted journalism you get in The Daily Herald. Donations processed in this system are not tax deductible.