Washington’s lawmakers have reached a tentative agreement on a 2017-19 state operating budget, according the office of Gov. Jay Inslee. The deal should allow Washington to avoid a state government shutdown.
OLYMPIA — Less than 72 hours from a partial government shutdown, Washington lawmakers and Gov. Jay Inslee announced a tentative deal on a 2017-19 state operating budget.
But legislators Wednesday wouldn’t discuss what the agreement contains.
In separate impromptu news conferences, Democratic House Majority Leader Pat Sullivan and GOP Senate Majority Leader Mark Schoesler each said that details won’t be publicly available until Thursday.
That would leave the public with less than two days to review a budget expected to exceed $41 billion and a plan that officials hope will resolve the long-running saga of court-ordered K-12 education funding.
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Democratic and Republican lawmakers are set to get briefed on the deal Thursday morning, according to Sullivan and Schoesler.
Both legislative leaders said they are confident the deal will avoid a shutdown. Legislators must vote — and Inslee must sign — a budget by the end of Friday to replace the $38.2 billion, two-year operating budget approved in 2015.
Yet, with a deal announced later than any other in recent memory, officials were still preparing for the worst.
Even with Wednesday’s announcement, “State agencies have been instructed by OFM to continue executing contingency plans for operations in the event the budgets are not enacted by midnight June 30,” according to the Office of Financial Management’s website.
Both Sullivan and Schoesler said they believe the K-12 funding part of the deal will satisfy the state Supreme Court’s 2012 education-funding order known as the McCleary decision.
Justices ruled that Washington was violating its own constitution by underfunding the state school…