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No Deal On Gas Tax Package, Talks To Resume In January

Gov. Jay Inslee’s hopes for a gas tax package agreement before the end of the year have been dashed. The Democrat announced  Wednesday evening that with no deal at hand, talks are over for now, but will resume in January.

Inslee made his announcement flanked by House and Senate transportation leaders. It follows a dozen negotiating sessions in recent weeks. Among the roadblocks to agreement: a dispute over whether to put sales tax proceeds from transportation projects back into transportation instead of the state’s general fund.

Nonetheless, Inslee says the negotiations did result in the bridging of some differences. Previously he said he wanted a transportation package by the Apple Cup in late November.

Asked what the new deadline is, Inslee joked, “It’s still the Apple Cup. It’s just the next Apple Cup rather than 2013. Look I have always believed that this is just of the utmost importance for the economy of the state of Washington.”

Senate transportation co-chair Curtis King, a Republican, said,” Never say never,” but getting a deal in an election year could be difficult.

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.