The pace of budget negotiations in Olympia noticeably quickened yesterday. When House and Senate fiscal leaders walk frequently together between chambers, experienced observers know that discussions on the budget are getting down to the final last few items. Yesterday’s persistent rumor was that the capital budget was finished and that the operating budget could be ready by Saturday morning. That all but assures lawmakers will not be able to finish early, although finishing on time (Sunday April 22 is Sine Die) has a nice ring to it.
Specific details on the spending proposals have not yet been released or even leaked, but higher education folks were buoyed yesterday by the demeanor of House Appropriations chair Rep. Helen Sommers (D-Seattle). Sommers, who is legendary for her “game face” had a noticeable smile for much of the day as she walked to and from negotiations with the Senate.