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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 Drop Capital Gains Idea, GOP May Consider Closing Tax Exemptions

There’s still no budget deal in Olympia, but Washington House Democrats said Friday they’re willing to drop their push for a state capital gains tax.

House Majority Leader Pat Sullivan called on Senate Republicans to agree to close some tax exemptions.

“We took the capital gains tax off the table contingent upon the Senate agreeing to a package of tax loopholes that would allow us to make the investments that we need to make,” he said.

Democrats are looking at a $300 million to $350 million package over two years.

The Washington Senate’s chief budget writer, Republican Andy Hill, said he’s pleased Democrats are willing to forgo the capital gains tax.

“Listen, we’ve said all along we didn’t need major new taxes, we’ve talked about closing exemptions. We’ve always said we should be looking at our exemptions,” Hill said. “Some of them are old and not needed anymore.”

Budget writers plan to work over the weekend to try to get a deal before a July 1 partial government shutdown.

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."