State parks would close, state prisons won’t take new inmates and some convicted sex offenders won’t be watched as closely when released if state government shuts down in a few days.
Those are just three of a long list of activities, programs and services which will be halted or scaled back if lawmakers fail to enact a new state budget by July 1 when the new fiscal year begins.
House and Senate budget negotiators said earlier this week they are close to an agreement but have yet to shake hands on one.
Only once before has the Legislature come this close to forcing a government shutdown. That occurred in 1991 when the House and Senate approved a budget early June 30 and Gov. Booth Gardner signed it shortly before midnight.
Jerry Cornfield is a political reporter who covers Olympia for The Daily Herald in Everett, which is among the Washington state newspapers in the Sound Publishing group.