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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 Senate Budget: More Money For Education, No 'Loophole' Closures

Austin Jenkins
Northwest News Network

OLYMPIA, Wash. – The mostly Republican majority in the Washington state Senate has unveiled its budget proposal. It would put $1 billion more into basic education without raising taxes. The spending blueprint released Wednesday contrasts sharply with what Governor Jay Inslee proposed last week.

Like Governor Inslee, the Senate proposes to make a significant down payment on the Washington Supreme Court’s finding that the state isn’t adequately funding K-12 education. Some of the money would go to high poverty schools and to fund an expansion of all-day Kindergarten. The budget also proposes to give colleges and universities a $300 million boost in exchange for a 3 percent tuition break.

Unlike Governor Inslee, the Senate budget does not propose to extend expiring tax hikes or close tax exemptions.

“We need to get off this story line that we need more money for education," says Senate Majority Leader Rodney Tom. "We have funded education in this budget. We have reprioritized education in this budget and no new revenue.”

The Senate budget would make a controversial cut to a program for the aged, blind and disabled. Some minority Democrats have signed onto the spending plan, but insist in end the final go-home budget deal will have to include some new revenue.

In a statement, Governor Inslee calls the Senate proposal “deeply flawed.” Next up Washington House Democrats will roll out their budget proposal.

On the Web:

Washington Senate Majority's 2013-15 budget plan - Washington Legislature
Gov. Inslee's statement on the Senate proposal - Office of the Governor
Gov. Inslee's 2013-15 budget priorities - Washington Office of Financial Management

Since January 2004, Austin Jenkins has been the Olympia-based political reporter for the Northwest News Network. In that position, Austin covers Northwest politics and public policy, as well as the Washington State Legislature. You can also see Austin on television as host of TVW's (the C–SPAN of Washington State) Emmy-nominated public affairs program "Inside Olympia."