The economy is improving and tax revenues are up, which should make it relatively easy to balance the budget. But Oregon and Washington lawmakers are finding it anything but easy.
The Oregon legislature, which planned to adjourn by the end of June, is bracing to grind on until July. The Washington legislature just completed its first special session, which The Columbian summarized in a tweet as "30 days, 0 bills, $77,000 in per diems."
Lawmakers in both states are hung up on how to get more money for K-12 schools.
In Olympia, lawmakers face a court mandate to increase K-12 school funding, but can't agree how to do it.
In Salem, Democrats and Republicans have failed to reach agreement on deep enough cuts to the Public Employees Retirement System and new revenue. The Oregon Senate, which Democrats control by a slim 16-14 margin, is stymied because Senator Chris Edwards, D-Springfield, has balked at passing a large enough K-12 school budget to avoid more teacher layoffs and school day reductions.
Washington Governor Jay Inslee has called legislators back for a second special session to avert state government spending cuts if a budget deal isn't cut before July, when the state's new fiscal year begins.
Oregon has a similar problem, with the 2013-2015 biennial budget set to take effect July 1.
There aren't promising signs in either state the deadline will be met.