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D.C.-style dysfunction has state at fiscal cliff

OLYMPIA (June 27, 2013) — “Governing from the middle, governing from the center, that’s what the citizens in this state expect,” erstwhile Democratic Sen. Rodney Tom said last December, announcing the new “Majority Coalition Caucus” that he and Sen. Tim Sheldon had just crossed party lines to form with the 23 Senate Republicans.

fiscal-cliffWhat citizens definitely didn’t want is the Washington, D.C.-style partisan gridlock now on display six months later. Amid the second overtime legislative session to pass the state’s budgets, Tom’s MCC reportedly is still seeking anti-working family policy bills as budget trade-offs while a partial shutdown of the Washington state government is just three days away on July 1. Notices of temporary layoff or furlough has been sent to some 25,000 public employees. Some of the state’s most vulnerable citizens are being notified they are about to lose access to health care. Park closures are imminent, and many more severe consequences loom. (See the online countdown towards the shutdown.)

Amid all this, budget negotiations between Tom’s Republican-controlled Senate and the Democratic-controlled House are so dysfunctional that on Wednesday Tom’s “coalition” didn’t appear to know whether they had a budget agreement or not.

TAKE A STAND! — Call the toll-free Legislative Hotline at 1-800-562-6000. Leave a message for all of your state legislators: “It’s past time for the Senate Majority Coalition Caucus to stop messing around with divisive policy bills — like eliminating health care for part-time state employees. Pass the operating budget, a robust capital budget that puts Washington to work, and the transportation package.”

Stay tuned as this completely unnecessary and harmful drama continues.

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