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Marchers arrive at state capitol as special session looms

The Washington legislature is headed for an overtime session. The Senate late Monday approved its plan to close a 5-billion dollar budget shortfall. But it is unlikely differences between the House and Senate can be reconciled by this Sunday’s Easter deadline.

As spring finally arrived at the Capitol, so did a group of weary marchers clad in orange reflective vests.

They walked fifty miles over four days to protest budget cuts and what they call corporate tax giveaways. They were joined by faith leaders who plan to fast this week also in protest. Kevin Knutsen with Washington Community Action, rallied the crowd.

“We want a moral budget. There is not a budget deficit there is a moral deficit in this state.”

At the rally, both Democratic budget chairs - Ross Hunter from the House and Ed Murray from the Senate – passed by. Murray wants to send a referendum to voters this fall to repeal the two-thirds vote requirement to end tax exemptions. Supporters of that proposal hope it can gain traction in a special session.

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." Prior to joining the Northwest News Network, Austin worked as a television reporter in Seattle, Portland and Boise. Austin is a graduate of Garfield High School in Seattle and Connecticut College in New London, Connecticut. Austin’s reporting has been recognized with awards from the Association of Capitol Reporters and Editors, Public Radio News Directors Incorporated and the Society of Professional Journalists.