Ahead of Gov. Jay Inslee’s State of the State address Tuesday afternoon, Olympia correspondent Austin Jenkins talked with Morning Edition host Kirsten Kendrick about what to expect. They discussed the two-year spending plan and other issues that should arise during the 2019 legislative session.
Jenkins said that while Democratic lawmakers make up the majority in both chambers of the Legislature, it’s likely to be a careful dance getting Inslee’s spending proposal approved.
“What the governor has proposed is a big leap in spending,” Jenkins said, stressing the 20 percent proposed increase — $10 billion above the current budget. “He’s proposing an array of new taxes to do this.”
Jenkins said Democrats will need to be mindful how they choose to implement legislative goals, as not to hurt themselves when re-election comes back around.
As for the State of the State address, Jenkins said Inslee’s potential bid for president in 2020 could color how he discusses the issues facing Washington: “Because he’s contemplating a run for president, we may want to listen and watch this speech a little bit more through a national lens, to be thinking about he might be telegraphing to reporters elsewhere and to a national audience, potentially.”
It’s likely the governor will try to paint a picture of how Washington could be a model for the nation regarding some of the state’s successes, Jenkins said, such as paid family leave and climate change.
But, he added, it’s important to note that the governor and the Legislature face other issues, too, that may be tougher to talk about on a national stage.
“Really what he’s been doing is talking about the successes that he feels Washington can claim," Jenkins said. “There are some very difficult issues facing this governor, facing this Legislature. At the same time, the narrative that he wants to tell the nation is about the successes.”
Listen to the full conversation above.
UPDATE, 1:15 p.m.: Watch or read a transcript of the governor's full State of the State speech now. Read Jenkins coverage of the speech here.