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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 Lawmakers Will Return For Second Special Session

Colin Fogarty
Northwest News Network files

Washington lawmakers will have to return for a second 30-day special session. The first overtime session ends Thursday and the House and Senate still don’t have a budget deal.

Arguably House Democrats and Senate Republicans are closer than they were 30 days ago because they’ve gotten some good revenue news since then. But House budget writer Ross Hunter said there’s been no big breakthrough.

The stalemate boils down to this: Democrats say Republicans rely on gimmicks to balance their budget. Republicans say Democrats rely on taxes that haven’t yet passed the Democratic House.

So what happens next? The governor’s office will start preparing for a government shutdown July 1 and budget negotiations will continue.

There is concern that if things here haven’t wrapped up by mid-June that could present another delay of game. That’s because the U.S. Open golf tournament begins and hotels in Olympia are already filling up which could ace out lawmakers.

Governor Jay Inslee has said he will immediately call lawmakers back into a second special session beginning Friday. Other issues on the table include a gas tax package, changes to the tax structure for recreational marijuana and whether to amend a voter-approved class size measure.

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."