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Tue., Dec. 17, 2013, 2:07 p.m.

Inslee proposes ‘hold steady’ budget

Gov. Jay Inslee proposed what he called a "hold stead budget in a get ready year."

It has some mandatory increases in spending for mental health services for children, higher rates for family home child care providers and covering the costs of last season's wildfires. It also would spend more on teacher mentoring, dropout prevention, training for aerospace workers and classes in science, technology, engineering and math.

Unlike previous years, the state isn't projecting major gaps between the spending on the books and the revenue expected to come in. But Inslee said it will need between $1 billion and $2 billion extra in 2015, for the next biennium to expand public education under the mandate from the state Supreme Court. He'll propose closing some business tax preferences in 2015 to cover some of that amount, but he hasn't developed the package.

Inslee also said legislative leaders continue to negotiate a package of major transportation projects, maintenance, reforms and taxes but have not reached an agreement. If they do, he could call a special one-day session for the week before the regular session starts on Jan. 13. If not, debate over a transportation package will be part of 2014's 60-day short session.

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Jim Camden
Jim Camden joined The Spokesman-Review in 1981. He is currently the political reporter and state government reporter in the newspaper's Olympia bureau office.

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