Inslee criticizes lack of progress on budget

Inslee criticizes lack of progress on budget
Gov. Jay Inslee
OLYMPIA, Wash. (AP) — Gov. Jay Inslee says he is concerned about the "lack of substantive progress" in budget negotiations as lawmakers near the end of an overtime session, and he specifically called out a measure put forth by Senate Republicans that he says will take money away from education.

Inslee on Tuesday lambasted a bill passed out of a Senate fiscal committee last week that would lower estate tax rates and phase in raising the value of estates to be taxed from $2 million to the federal level of $5 million.

Lawmakers are in the midst of a 30-day special session that began on May 13 and is set to end June 11. They face a $1.2 billion budget shortfall for the two-year cycle that ends in the middle of 2015. That doesn't count an additional approximate $1 billion that lawmakers are seeking in response to a court-ordered requirement that the state spend more on its basic education system.