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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."

As Washington Budget Negotiations Heat Up, Shutdown Details Emerge

Northwest News Network

The push is on to get a final budget deal in Olympia. Top legislative leaders met Thursday to see if they could bridge their final differences. Meanwhile, we’re starting to get a clearer picture of what a July 1 government shutdown would look like if there’s no agreement.

The governor’s office says without a new budget, 34 state agencies and commissions would completely shut down on July 1st. Another 24 would partially shutter. On the closure list: state parks, the lottery, and some mental health services.

At the Department of Corrections, the prisons would stay open but community supervision of Washington offenders would cease. On the medical side, state funding for dialysis patients would end.

"This absolutely is the last thing the governor or any of us want to happen," says Mary Alice Heuschel, chief of staff to Gov. Jay Inslee. "He is doing everything in his power to help legislators find agreement."

At the Capitol, Republican and Democratic budget negotiators are exchanging offers.

Speaker of the House Frank Chopp, a Democrat, says progress is being made. "We’re working very hard to make sure we get this job done as soon as possible,"

The Senate majority says there’s no reason things can’t be wrapped up by Sunday. Monday is when lay-off notices will go out to thousands of state employees.

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."