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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 Lawmakers Hope For Positive Revenue Forecast

Austin Jenkins
Northwest News Network

Protracted budget talks in Olympia could see a breakthrough after Tuesday’s release of an updated revenue forecast. That’s the quarterly report that projects how much money will flow into state tax coffers in the coming months.

Lawmakers are expecting some positive news. A couple of hundred of million dollars to the positive could prove a game-changer in the weeks long budget stalemate.

Senate Majority Leader Rodney Tom says if the House backs off its demands to close some tax exemptions, his members will abandon their call for controversial policy measures – like changes to the state’s injured worker’s system.

Pressure is building on Washington budget writers. A government shutdown looms on July 1st if they don’t have a budget by then.

Longtime House Democrat Hans Dunshee believes the threat of state government grinding to a halt will drive a final, go-home deal. “Honestly, I think the impending shutdown is what breaks the dam.”

For now though the Washington capitol is a pretty sleepy place with no floor action and no committee hearings currently scheduled. But that could change very quickly if the new revenue forecast helps budget negotiators bridge their differences.

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."