Thursday, June 27, 2013

Washington lawmakers have agreed on a budget (for real this time)

Posted By on Thu, Jun 27, 2013 at 10:49 AM

Three days before the end of a second special session, Washington lawmakers have agreed on a $33.6 billion operating budget for the next biennium. For real this time

Flanked by Republican and Democratic Senate and House leaders, Gov. Jay Inslee announced at a press conference late this morning that business as usual will go on next week. Dozens of state agencies won't close and thousands of public workers won't lose their jobs.

"Washington will be at work Monday," Inslee told reporters.

Inslee spokesman David Postman said negotiators hope to have a finalized budget for the governor to sign by 5 pm tomorrow.

“You'll see the big fat thing soon," Postman said.

Details on the new budget are sparse. According to a statement from Sen. Andy Hill, R-Redmond, the spending plan sets aside $1 billion for public schools and freezes college tuition. Negotiators also agreed to end an $85 million tax break on landline phone services. 

Lawmakers probably won't go home even after the budget passes, Postman said. The Legislature may still vote on a transportation package and new DUI laws before the special session ends.  

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Deanna Pan

Deanna Pan is a staff writer at the Inlander, where she covers social justice, state politics and health care. In her cover stories, she's written about mass shooting survivors, NGRI patients and honey bees...