The Capitol Record

Inslee concerned about a ‘lack of substantive progress’ in budget talks

Gov. Jay Inslee criticized a Senate plan to make changes to the state’s estate tax, saying that the GOP-dominated Senate majority wants to give “tax cuts to the wealthiest” instead of funding education.

The Senate approved a bill in committee that make changes to the state’s estate tax so that it eventually only applies to estates worth more than $5 million. The House, meanwhile, has passed a bill that would apply the tax to all estates worth more than $2 million.

Both bills are in response to the state Supreme Court’s “Bracken Decision,” and they aim to keep the state from losing $160 million in tax revenue as a result of the ruling. The money collected from the estate tax goes to a fund dedicated to education.

The governor called the Senate’s action a “huge impediment” to budget negotiations. The special session ends on June 11, and lawmakers yet to come to an agreement on the budget.

“With one week left in this special session, I am increasingly concerned about lack of substantive progress in budget negotiations,” Inslee said.

The governor said both sides continue to negotiate. But if they don’t reach agreement by next Tuesday, Inslee said he anticipates he’ll have to call an immediate second special session to begin the following day.

Inslee said he’s also looking into what happens if there is no budget in place by July 1 — the start of the new fiscal year.

“I’ve made some inquiries about decisions we would have to make,” he said.

Watch the press conference here:

UPDATE: The Senate Majority Coalition held a press conference immediately after to respond to Gov. Inslee. Watch the full event here.

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