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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."

Budget Fight Looms in Washington Legislature


House Democrats on Friday unveiled a proposed $1.5 billion tax package. Senate Republicans plan to rollout their proposed budget later this week.

It’s not expected to include higher taxes and this sets the stage for a potential stand-off.

The two parties split control of the Legislature. They have different but very predictable philosophies around taxes. Democrats say, "existing resources aren’t going to be enough," even though the state is expected to bring in an additional $3 billion over the next two years because of a recovering economy. So, they’re looking to taxes.

Meanwhile, Republicans are saying the state has to ‘live within our means.’” The Senate’s lead budget writer has said taxes should be a last resort.

Washington lawmakers have less than a month to agree on a two-year budget. If they don’t that would mean an 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."