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Washington House Dems roll out budget; no general tax increase

OLYMPIA, Wash. – Majority Democrats in the Washington state House have unveiled a plan to rebalance the state’s budget. The spending blueprint released Tuesday does not call for a general tax increase. But it would delay a massive payment to public schools. It also relies on savings from reduced demand for state services.

But Democrat Jeannie Darneille cautions those savings are not the result of an improving economy. Instead, she argues, they’re largely because of previous cuts to state services.

“We have to wonder as we look now at 17-thousand children who’ve fallen off the rolls for the Temporary Assistance for Needy families," Darneille said, "what’s happened to those children, what’s the status of those children in our state today?”

Unlike the governor, House Democrats do not propose to shorten the school year to balance the budget. They would, however, cut payments to city and county governments. The spending plan also calls for an end to a tax break for out-of-state banks and would leave $500 M in the bank as a cash reserve. The Washington state Senate is expected to present its budget proposal next week.

Copyright 2012 Northwest News Network

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.