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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."

Inslee Reports Budget 'Breakthroughs' As Layoff Notices Go Out

Austin Jenkins
Northwest News Network

Washington Governor Jay Inslee says a budget deal in Olympia is “imminent” – even as state workers start to receive layoff notices. At a news conference Monday afternoon, the Democrat reported significant breakthroughs in budget negotiations.

A shutdown of state government is now one week away. That’s why temporary layoff notices are going out to state employees. That’s a requirement of labor contracts. Governor Inslee says he feels “enormous frustration” there wasn’t a budget deal in time to avert the notices.

But he reports “very substantial” progress in negotiations on a state budget for the next two years. “This news gives me increasing confidence that we will have the resources to fulfill our obligations to fund our schools, protect the most vulnerable amongst us and avoid an unprecedented shutdown of state government.”

Inslee added that he still hopes the legislature also passes a separate transportation funding package. The Washington House and Senate have been stuck in a stalemate for weeks over the budget and other issues. They are now in the midst of a second 30-day overtime session

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."