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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."

Still No Budget Breakthrough As Washington Special Session End Approaches

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Washington’s 30-day overtime session of the legislature ends a week from Tuesday. So far there’s no sign of a budget deal between the mostly Republican-led Senate and the Democratic House. Governor Jay Inslee is urging the two sides to pick up the pace.

House and Senate negotiators continue to meet in Olympia. But finding agreement on the next two-year budget and the policy measures to implement it remains elusive.

The chief roadblock is still the disagreement over whether new revenue is needed to balance the budget. Governor Inslee and House Democrats want to extend an expiring tax and close some tax exemptions. The Republican-dominated majority coalition in the Senate says no to raising taxes.

Senate Democrats Jim Hargrove and Sharon Nelson are part of the negotiations and could play a key role in bridging that gap. But time is running out. If a budget agreement doesn’t emerge this week a second special session might be necessary because of the time it takes to pass a budget.

Meanwhile lawmakers are teeing up some other issues for a likely floor vote including an omnibus bill to address impaired driving.

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."