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Spec Sess Day 2: Spokane protesters in the Capitol

Chris Clark of Deer Park ties a list of concerns about budget cuts to the string of a helium balloon outside the Capitol.

OLYMPIA — About 20 people from the Spokane area joined protesters in the state Capitol urging legislators to close a budget gap with a combination of taxes and cuts.

The group drove across the state on Monday, but arrived in Olympia after the building was closed to the public by state officials. Unlike some demonstrators, they didn't try to rush the building to force their way in.

Tuesday they lobbied Spokane area legislators to consider closing tax exemptions, particularly for large national banks. They're not wild about the half-cent increase in the state sales tax that Gov. Chris Gregoire has proposed, but would support it to save programs.

The sales tax is regressive, Shar Lichty said. “But cuts are more regressive than a sales tax increase.”

Members of the group had hoped to tie a list of their requests to the string of helium balloons that they would let loose in the Capitol. The balloons would rise to the dome, then slowly descend as the helium ran out, and bring the messages down.

But building officials wouldn't let the balloons into the building. The balloons were tied into the shape of a Christmas tree and tied to a weight on the north steps of the Capitol.

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About this blog

Jim Camden is a veteran political reporter for The Spokesman-Review.

Jonathan Brunt is an enterprise reporter for The Spokesman-Review.

Kip Hill is a general assignments reporter for The Spokesman-Review.

Nick Deshais covers Spokane City Hall for The Spokesman-Review.

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