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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 Democrats Renew Call For Capital Gains Tax, Republicans Steadfast


Washington House Democrats are doubling down on their pitch for a state capital gains tax while Republicans are reiterating their no-new-taxes mantra.

The war of ideas played out Monday as budget negotiators returned to the capitol for a second special session.

“We believe that a modest capital gains tax is the right way to move the state forward, not only for tax fairness purposes but it allows us to make those needed investments where we need to make them,” said Democrat Pat Sullivan, the House majority leader.

Andy Hill, the Republican’s chief budget writer in the Washington Senate, said a capital gains tax is a non-starter with his caucus.

“The big difference here is they’re demanding new taxes that we think are unnecessary,” he said. “And that is what the difference of opinion right now, that is what’s holding everything up.”

In recent days, both the Washington House and Senate have unveiled new budget proposals. The two competing spending plans remain about $500 million apart. Both sides said once they can bridge that difference, they’re confident a budget deal will come together, hopefully in the next two weeks.

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."