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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 House Democrats: Extend Taxes, End Tax Breaks To Fund Schools

Austin Jenkins
Northwest News Network

OLYMPIA, Wash. – Washington House Democrats have unveiled a proposed two-year budget that looks a lot like Governor Jay Inslee’s. It would renew expiring tax hikes, close several tax exemptions and put the new money into public schools.

House Democrats would actually spend a tad more than the governor. But their approach is very similar. For example: extend an expiring tax on beer and end the sales tax exemption for bottled water and shoppers from sales tax free Oregon.

House Finance Chair Reuven Carlyle says the money raised is needed to begin to comply with a Washington Supreme Court ruling that says the state is not adequately funding public schools.

“We’re proposing to close or reform 15 tax exemptions, credits or preferential rates and to extend some of the existing credits that the governor talked about it and we’re proposing to put virtually every single penny into public education.”

That’s an estimated $1.3 billion over the next two years. The Republican chair of the Senate budget committee quickly called the House plan a tax hike on Washington families. The Senate last week passed a no-new-taxes budget that would put about $1 billion toward basic education, but cut some social services.

The deadline to negotiate a final go-home budget is less than three weeks away.

On the Web:

Summary of House budget proposal - Washington House Democrats
Gov. Inslee's 2013-15 budget priorities - Washington Office of Financial Management
Washington Senate's 2013-15 budget plan - Washington Legislature

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."