After signing a bill to move the Seattle convention center from a state entity to a local public facility district, Gov. Chris Gregoire took questions from newsies wondering about tax talks.
Gregoire said she would meet with Senate Majority Leader Lisa Brown and House Speaker Frank Chopp later on Friday to get an update on the vote-count for the $800 million in various tax and fee increases. She said she has been calling lawmakers herself to urge them to vote for the package.
But the time has come to take the roll and let individual lawmakers decide if they will support the revenue to avoid having a pass an all-cuts budget, she said.
“They need to have that board light up and ask themselves, ‘What am I gonna do?’ ” Gregoire said, in reference to the electronic tallying machine that takes votes in the House. “Am I gonna be the one to vote no?”
Gregoire said the pieces of the package are essentially fixed. While some lawmakers oppose individual pieces, others won’t support it if those pieces fall out.
“It’s a delicate balance,” she said. “You take one piece out and you unravel it. You put another piece in an you unravel it.”
She said a no vote by the House and Senate will not produce a different package. It will end the session and she has no intention of convening a second special session.
“If the revenue package we have now isn’t voted upon, I don’t have an answer,” she said. She is legally obligated to order across-the-board cuts to all areas of state spending, including funding for local school districts. Those cuts would have to be around 20 percent, she said.
When asked if she was frustrated, Gregoire said: “I’m beyond that. I’m now in the fatigue stage.”