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Jerry Cornfield | jcornfield@heraldnet.com
Published: Thursday, March 8, 2012, 5:54 a.m.

Democrats preparing a final run to pass a budget

As I reported today, Democratic leaders in the House and Senate are lining up to make one final play at pushing through a budget.

Rep. Ross Hunter, D-Medina, chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee, has rolled out a striking amendment to the Republican-crafted budget passed by the Senate.

If the House approves the striker, the bill then goes to the Senate where Democratic leaders must come up with 25 votes to concur with the changes and adopt the revamped bill.

If they fail to get to 25, or higher, it's going to be a long special session.

Just a week ago in the Senate, three Democrats joined the 22 Republicans to pass a budget. Today's test is whether the Hunter amendment -- which is a proposal agreed to by Democratic leaders in both chambers - is good enough to win over any of those lawmakers.

A key may be Section 503 dealing with the controversial issue of a $340 million apportionment payment in June to public schools. Republican leaders consider that an accounting gimmick and have been steadfast in their opposition.

This proposal includes money to make the payment as scheduled. However, this expenditure is contingent on the June revenue forecast showing enough of an increase to cover the cost.

The section reads:

The purpose of this contingent appropriation is to ensure a responsible ending fund balance while avoiding delay in providing funding to school districts by making the June 2013 general apportionment payment to school districts if the June 2013 revenue forecast indicates that sufficient revenues are available to support the expenditure.

(2) The amount in this section is provided solely for the June 2013 general apportionment payment to school districts that would otherwise be paid in that month but for the delay to July 2013 required by House Bill No. 2129 (apportionment payment).

(3) This section takes effect June 25, 2013, only if the June 2013 forecast adopted by the economic and revenue forecast council pursuant to RCW 82.33.030 projects that state general fund revenues for the 2011-2013 fiscal biennium will exceed $30,817,314,000


Stay tuned. This drama may not be finished before the stroke of midnight.
Story tags » GovernmentStateGovernorLegislature

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