background_fid.jpg
Regional Public Journalism
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00
0:00
Available On Air Stations
Education and Training
Dispatches from public radio's correspondent at the Washington Legislature. Austin Jenkins is the Olympia correspondent for the Northwest News Network. You can also see Austin on television as host of TVW's (the C–SPAN of Washington State) weekly public affairs program "Inside Olympia."

Washington Class Size Measure Puts $2B Dent in State Budget

washington_capitol800.jpg
Colin Fogarty
/
Northwest News Network files

Washington’s budget outlook is suddenly $2 billion in the red largely because of a class size reduction measure just approved by the voters.

That initiative adds to an already challenging budget picture when lawmakers convene in January.

“I think we have a significant problem here and we have work to do,” Democrat Ross Hunter said. He’s the chief budget writer in the Washington House.

Hunter believes additional tax revenues will be needed to balance the next budget.

Senate Republican budget chair Andy Hill disagrees.

“You know taxes should not be the first response, they should be the absolute last one,” he said.

Washington does expect to take in about $3 billion more in revenues over the next two years because of a recovering economy. But the state also has some major bills to pay including a Supreme Court mandate to increase funding for public schools.