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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 Legislature Strikes Budget Deal

Colin Fogarty
Northwest News Network files

In a new budget deal, Washington public schools will get nearly an additional $60 million, but teachers will not get a cost of living raise this year.

This deal represents a compromise between the Democratically-controlled Washington House and mostly Republican majority in the state Senate.

To reach a deal both sides agreed not to fight over tax breaks. Democrats gave up a proposal to close four tax exemptions. Republicans dropped their plan to extend several tax breaks.

With the tax fight off the table, the two sides compromised around spending priorities. More money will go to public schools to pay for materials, supplies and operations. But teachers will have to wait another year to get their voter-approved cost-of-living raises.

Lawmakers will now scramble to pass this update to the state’s two-year budget before the day is out. This is the last scheduled day of the legislature’s 60-day 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."