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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."

Inslee To Convene Washington Budget Negotiations

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Washington Governor Jay Inslee plans to convene budget negotiations in his office beginning at 10:00 a.m. Monday morning.

The Democrat hopes he can break the partisan gridlock over the state budget.

Washington lawmakers are embarking on a second 30-day special session. The first overtime session did not produce a bipartisan budget agreement. But recent positive fiscal news should make it easier to bridge the gap.

Inslee said House Democrats need to come down in spending and Senate Republicans need to accept some additional revenue or taxes. And he’s ready to play referee.

“Instead of just kind of frankly lobbing paper back and forth of offers to actually sit down face to face in prolonged discussions in this room to have a personal discussion of the movement that needs to take place to reach consensus,” the governor said.

Inslee said it’s time for all sides to move to the middle.

Technically, lawmakers have until June 28, but Inslee wants a deal much sooner -- in part, he said, because money is being wasted preparing for a July 1 government shutdown if there is no budget.

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."