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Government and Politics
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 Senate Passes Budget

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The Washington Senate has passed a two-year operating budget on a 44 to 4 vote. It now goes to the House for debate.

The sudden momentum in Olympia Friday follows weeks of budget gridlock. But in order to find common ground, both the House and Senate gave up things they wanted. That included all but one tax exemption that Democrats proposed to repeal.

The list of tax exemptions that the governor and the House Democrats had put forth for closure aren’t in this budget. Those fell off the table.

On the policy ‘reform’ side from the Senate, most of their reforms have fallen off the table. Probably the chief one were changes to the state’s workers compensation system to allow younger workers who are permanently injured to take lump sum payments instead of pension payments over their lifetime. That is not part of this final deal.

At this point, Governor Jay Inslee plans to sign the budget on Sunday in time to avert a state government shutdown on Monday – the first day of the new fiscal year.