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Few details, but House leaders predict breakthroughs are coming

Post by Jordan Schrader / The News Tribune on May 18, 2011 at 6:32 pm with 4 Comments »
May 18, 2011 6:32 pm

The House had adjourned with plans to not come back until Monday, which seemed like a sign it might be giving up on finishing Wednesday as scheduled. Now, not so much. The budget committee is coming back to meet Friday, and House leaders were tentatively planning a floor session over the weekend.

So is a budget accord approaching?

“We’re getting really close,” House Speaker Frank Chopp said today when he sat down for an interview with Brad Shannon and me after a slew of meetings with other lawmakers and the governor.

“We’ve made progress, a lot of progress, in the last day,” Chopp said. Actually, I counted at least five times he said the word, “progress.”

Chopp said a breakthrough may be coming soon on the debt limit, and that deal could allow a construction budget to pass through the House on Saturday. A “potential solution” on the debt ceiling is being considered, he said, that would “split the difference” between the House and Senate positions on what levels of debt the state should take on.

The big controversy, of course, is over worker’s compensation and specifically the Senate’s demand that injured workers be offered lump-sum settlements as an alternative to pensions. The House might have the votes for lump-sum payments, but House Democrats as a whole and their leader, Chopp, reject them.

Gov. Chris Gregoire has put forward a new, “really interesting” idea on workers’ compensation that House members are seriously considering, House Democratic Floor Leader Tami Green of Lakewood said today.

It’s not a lump-sum settlement, she said — more of a “hybrid” between settlements and pensions. She didn’t give details; legislative leaders are still reviewing the proposal and briefing business, labor and trial lawyers groups on it. I have a call in to the governor’s office about it, but haven’t heard back yet.

“If the idea works, we can get out of here really fast,” Green said.

Leave a comment Comments → 4
  1. tree_guy says:

    If the voters would remove Chopp and Green from their elective offices at the earliest opportunity available our state might make real “progress” on budget issues.

  2. truthbusterguy says:

    If King County voters would just wake up, go to the PDC and look at who gives money to Chopp. The unions, teachers and tribes own him and he puts them first.

    It’s a shame many more don’t follow events in Olympia to see the corruption.

    Brad and Jordon, I thank you for your work.

  3. Well who’s paying the Republicans truthbusterguy? And who are they puting first? I don’t know? Business maybe??

  4. Allan B Darr says:

    Punish injured workers. It’s the whine heard around the business community. I commend Speaker Chopp for standing his ground and that of his caucus. Lump sum payoffs are a bad idea anytime. A worker need only to look at the cost of health care and then to his/her future. In a short period of time, the cost of living will eat up the payoff and what’s next. A bad idea and no worker should ever fall into that trap. It’s a lottery made in hell and will put a workers future in the same place.
    Allan B Darr

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