Deal reached on Washington budget

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OLYMPIA — Negotiators announced Thursday they have reached a deal on a $33.6 billion two-year state budget that would put an additional $1 billion into public schools and avert a government shutdown that would have started Monday.

In addition, budget writers agreed to prohibit higher education tuition increases for one year, with some flexibility in the second year. And they agreed to eliminate a tax break for residential phone service that’s projected to net about $85 million over the next two years.

House Appropriations Chairman Ross Hunter, D-Medina, called it “a very delicate agreement” that could still fall apart, but that the disagreements that remain are separate pieces of legislation that are not part of the budget. He would not get into details.

Gov. Jay Inslee just announced a goal of having his signature on the budget by 5 p.m. Friday. At a hastily called news briefing this morning in the governor’s conference room, Inslee did not comment on the contents of the budget, or what he liked or didn’t. Instead, he spoke only about the fact that the agreement averts the government shutdown, and that state workers will be on the job Monday, as usual.

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