The special session of the legislature ends next Tuesday and it’s not clear yet if there will be a budget agreement. Legislators must pass a budget by June 30th to keep the lights on.
Debates around funding for the Washington Wildlife and Recreation Program and the parks, wildlife habitat and working farms the program supports are still front and center. The lead negotiators of the capital construction budget have been meeting behind closed doors.
That doesn’t mean the Coalition is resting on our laurels. We just got a great column in the Spokesman Review celebrating the WWRP and encouraging the legislature to maintain the program’s integrity. One notable quote:
“Prompted by a query from state Sen. Mike Baumgartner, I asked local officials, agency staffers and conservatives and liberals with knowledge of WWRP whether the program has produced any pork or stinkers.
No projects were criticized.”
The other major news should take none of you by surprise: the collapse of the Skagit Bridge on I-5. The main implication of this, of course, is on the state’s transportation funding and the proposed revenue package. Yet there are other consequences. From the New York Times:
“The message by the state to avoid the area to help ease congestion, and the news images of stalled traffic and twisted steel, have created a secondary collapse, business and political leaders here said, in a community that was poised this year to finally break through, back to prerecession health”
The Coalition hopes that funding for 11 proposed WWRP farm projects in Skagit County – agriculture being the major industry there – will help the county navigate these new challenges.