Clock is ticking on state budget deal as layoffs, shutdown loom

Clock is ticking on state budget deal as layoffs, shutdown loom
OLYMPIA -- Time is running out on Washington state lawmakers as they work overtime to get a budget deal in place.

They have just eight days to reach a deal before thousands of state workers could see temporary layoffs.

The government shutdown would impact dozens of agencies, including the state lottery, Department of Corrections and health care.

Saturday morning, Governor Jay Inslee met with budget negotiators and leaders of the House and Senate for about an hour.

They're trying to figure out where the state is on reaching a deal.

Lawmakers are still trying to bridge the gap in the budget negotiations.

If a deal's not reached by the end of the weekend thousands of state workers will be given layoff notices on Monday.

Up to 24 agencies face partial shutdown and more than 30 agencies will completely shut down, including Washington State Parks.

"What that would mean is the close of the day on the June 30, we close at dusk in the parks, the gates would be closed and simply not reopened the next day," said Virginia Painter of Washington State Parks.

The Department of Corrections would face a partial shutdown. New offenders would stay in county jails and the agency wouldn't have any officers available to respond to global positioning system alerts for high-risk offenders.

Yesterday, Inslee said he knows taxpayers are upset.

"Their frustration is legitimate and not quite as much as I have," Inslee said.

He said there are many items that remain unresolved, but he's hopeful a deal will be reached by the end of the weekend.

"My job today is to get a budget as fast as humanly possible," he said. "To do that, I'm going to be engaged with both sides."

In the meantime, state agencies continue to work on their own contingency plans if lawmakers can't reach a compromise by July 1.

The House will meet tomorrow at 1 p.m. no matter what happens Saturday regarding the budget.