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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."

Higher Tax Collections Lowers Pressure On Washington Lawmakers To Raise Revenue

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File photo of the Legislative Building on the Washington State Capitol campus in Olympia.

In Olympia, legislative budget writers got a shot of good news Friday regarding tax collections.

Washington's chief economist said about $274 million more than previously projected should flow into the state treasury from now through 2017. A strong economic recovery gets credit. This prompted a reaction from the legislature's lead budget writers.

"With another $250 million it reduces the pressure on the perennial call for more taxes,” Republican state Senator Andy Hill said.

"The problem space is marginally easier,” Democratic Rep. Ross Hunter said. “Yes, I agree with that."

Lawmakers also agreed the revenue boost is modest when set against the total Washington state budget. Alone the cost of a school class size reduction initiative approved by voters last November dwarfs the $250 million in extra spending money.

Lawmakers may still decide to modify or suspend that unfunded school measure.

Now semi-retired, Tom Banse covered national news, business, science, public policy, Olympic sports and human interest stories from across the Northwest. He reported from well known and out–of–the–way places in the region where important, amusing, touching, or outrageous events unfolded. Tom's stories can be found online and were heard on-air during "Morning Edition" and "All Things Considered" on NPR stations in Washington, Oregon, and Idaho.