Governor singing the budget blues

Jay Inslee has been back on the road this week with his “Ain’t Got No Capital Budget Blues” Tour.

The Democratic governor launched the tour in July and has performed in numerous counties including Grays Harbor, Pacific, Yakima, Pierce, King and Skagit. He opens with an uplifting tune about the historic achievements of the 2017 legislative session: increased funding for schools, expanded mental health support services and a new paid family leave law.

Then he follows with an extended ballad on the day the capital budget died. It’s a tale of how the failure of lawmakers to approve a new two-year, $4.2 billion capital construction budget has meant no new money to carry out projects in every corner of the state.

Lawmakers settled on the budget’s content but the Republican-led Senate refused to vote on the bill absent agreement on a response to the Hirst decision from the state Supreme Court. The ruling aimed to protect water rights for people and fish but also left thousands of rural property owners wondering if they’ll be able to build a home and drill a well. Inslee uses the tour to update community leaders on the situation and pressure members of the Senate majority to de-link the two issues.

Inslee has not held any public event aimed at encouraging a resolution of the Hirst situation.

Sounds like this situation has everyone singing the blues.

Political reporter Jerry Cornfield’s blog, The Petri Dish, is at www.heraldnet.com. Contact him at 360-352-8623;jcornfield@heraldnet.com. Twitter: @dospueblos.