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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."

Budget Rollouts Just Ahead In Olympia

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Washington’s 105-day legislative session is more than half over. But the big job of negotiating a new two-year state budget has yet to begin. Senate Republicans are expected to unveil their budget proposal early this week, followed by House Democrats.

Senate Republicans say their budget will invest in public schools, protect critical state services and not raise taxes.

In December, Democratic Gov. Jay Inslee called for billions more in taxes to fully fund schools as mandated by the state Supreme Court. But Republicans point to rebounding state revenues and healthy reserves to make the argument that the budget can be balanced and schools funded within existing resources.

The battle over the state budget has already begun on social media. House Democrats tweeted, “Should we expect the [Senate Republican] budget to look like the Trump budget?” Senate Republicans, in turn, are counting down the days on Twitter until “Democrats pass a funded education plan.”

Once both the Senate and House unveil and pass their budgets, the two sides will have to negotiate a compromise.

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."