Gov. Jay Inslee signed a supplemental budget into law Friday that raises state spending by about $155 million. But he vetoed a section that would have cut $20 million in funds for the Life Sciences Discovery Fund by June 2015, which in effect would have brought the program to a halt early.
Inslee, a Democrat and longtime supporter of high-tech industries, said he could not justify ending the program prematurely. He also told reporters he thinks it is worth discussing over the next two years whether the program deserves to continue longer.
Republican Sen. John Braun of Chehalis and Democratic Sen. Jim Hargrove of Hoquiam both said they were disappointed by the veto. Both said that with the priority to find funds for K-12 schools, the veto makes next year's budgeting incrementally harder.
Inslee said the budget is balanced and meets the Legislature's requirement that projected spending also balance with projected revenues through June 2017. But he said that doesn't take into account the more than $1.5 billion the state will need to put into K-12 schools next biennium in accordance with the Supreme Court's ruling in McCleary.
He suggested lawmakers had punted on a chance to move closer to their legal obligation to fully fund schools by the 2017-18 school year.
Inslee also vetoed legislation regulating the use of drones and issued a 15-month moratorium on state agency use of the unmanned aircraft.
We'll have more on this in a story for Saturday's print editions.