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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 Abandon Some Taxes In 'Compromise' Offer

Austin Jenkins
Northwest News Network

Washington House Democrats have abandoned some proposed tax increases, but not others, in what they call a “significant compromise” budget offer to the Senate. The public unveiling Wednesday of a slimmed down House spending plan comes as the clock is running out on the current overtime session with still no budget deal.

House Democrats no longer propose to extend an expiring Business and Occupation tax surcharge on professional services. But their so-called “compromise” spending plan does still call for the repeal or narrowing of more than half-a-dozen tax exemptions and preferential rates.

The slimmed down House budget would spend less on education in order to protect certain safety net programs – despite a Supreme Court ruling that Washington is not spending enough for schools. Perhaps most significant, House Democrats appear to have won over two Senate Democrats who earlier voted for the mostly Republican senate majority’s no-new-taxes budget.

“We have six days left in special session," said Sharon Nelson, one of those Democrats who spoke at the House press conference. "And I hope we will be able to pass this budget and move forward.”

In a statement, Senate Majority Leader Rodney Tom said he was “disappointed” by the new House proposal. He went on to say “we will not let political expediency stand in the way of fulfilling our obligation to provide for our schools.”

On the Web:

Compromise Operating Budget Proposal - Washington House Democrats 

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."