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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 Budget Signed Into Law, Partial Shutdown Averted

Austin Jenkins
Northwest News Network
Washington Gov. Jay Inslee and lawmakers pose for a photo after the signing of the new two-year state budget. The signing at 11:40 p.m. averted a partial government shutdown at midnight.

Washington Governor Jay Inslee signed a new two-year budget into law just before midnight Tuesday averting a partial government shutdown.

“This budget ensures our children will get a better education because we are making a historic investment," Inslee said, "and it is a historic investment that provides an additional 1600 students access to preschool, expands all-day kindergarten statewide and reduces classroom size in grades K-3.”

Washington lawmakers are in contempt of court over school funding.

The $38 billion dollar budget also reduces college tuition, puts more money into mental health and gives state employees their first cost-of-living-increase since 2008.

The budget closes a couple of tax exemptions but does not create any new taxes.

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."