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Government and Politics
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."

Gregoire Urges Funding For Schools, Roads In Final Speech

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Office of the Governor

OLYMPIA, Wash. – In her final state of the state speech, outgoing Washington Governor Chris Gregoire urged lawmakers to fund schools and roads. The two-term Democrat delivered her farewell address Tuesday to a joint session of the legislature.

Gregoire told the assembled legislators they should come up with an additional $1 billion for schools in the next budget to comply with a state Supreme Court ruling.

“There is no free lunch," the governor said. "We cannot cut our way out of this. We cannot save our way out of this.”

Gregoire’s final budget includes several tax proposals to fund schools. The departing governor also urged lawmakers to find $450 million for the new Columbia River Crossing between Washington and Oregon. That would trigger matching federal funds.

Gregoire officially leaves office at 10:30 Wednesday morning. That’s when Governor-elect Jay Inslee will be sworn in.