Some $114 million in state construction projects for the Spokane area, including a new science building on the Eastern Washington University campus, are in jeopardy this week as the Legislature remains in a logjam over a dispute about a possible change in water rights laws.
Dynamiting that logjam may have become more difficult Friday, after Gov. Jay Inslee and Senate Republicans traded jabs over his veto of a tax break for manufacturers.
The state Capital Budget, with nearly $4 billion in new projects around the state, passed the House in a near unanimous vote on July 1. But it won’t come to a vote in the Senate, majority Republicans say, unless the House passes a way to overcome a 2016 Supreme Court decision that is affecting development around the state.
The Democratic-controlled House has yet to find such a bill, although the Senate has sent over a Republican-backed bill four times.
The failure to pass the two-year Capital Budget would be historic, but not in a good way, said Darcy Nonemacher, government affairs director for the Washington Environmental Council. It may be the first time the Legislature has ever failed to pass a biennial capital budget, which is usually an exercise in bipartisan collaboration.
“It’s a big deal,” she said.