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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 Send Budget To Governor; Gas Tax Package Moving

Austin Jenkins
Northwest News Network
Washington lawmakers passed a new, $38 billion two-year operating budget before dark on Monday night and sent it to the governor for his signature. This will avert a partial government shutdown on July 1.

Washington Governor Jay Inslee will sign a new two-year budget into law Tuesday, just in time to avert a partial government shutdown.

State lawmakers moved quickly to pass the $38 billion budget Monday night after striking a deal that ended weeks of gridlock.

It might have been the shortest budget debate in the history of the state -- after the longest budget stand-off. The entire debate on final passage of the budget in the Washington Senate took less than four minutes. Then it was over to the House where it too made quick work of the budget.

Both chambers approved the spending plan with strong bipartisan votes.

But there were some “nos.’ Democrat Jamie Pedersen of Seattle wanted a more robust tax package and he said funding for K-12 is inadequate. One key test is whether the budget will get lawmakers out of contempt of court over school funding.

Also moving in the final hours of the legislature: a nearly 12 cents a gallon gas tax package.

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."