Despite word in Olympia that the Senate was looking for a way to ditch their plan to raise the sales tax in Washington, Senator Ed Murray (D-43, Seattle), the point man for the Senate in revenue negotiations, said the sales tax is still in play.

Yes, the Senate is considering other tax increases in lieu of the sales tax increase, and in turn looking for ways to win votes in the House, but they’ve been doing that since the beginning, and that doesn’t mean the Senate favors a no-sales-tax-increase plan, said Murray.

Andrew Garber of the Seattle Times wrote this afternoon that Senator Lisa Brown (D-3, Spokane) was working on a way to drop a sales tax increase.

“Yeah, that’s not accurate,” said Sen. Murray, meaning that the sales tax was not dead. “I’m the revenue guy in the Senate. [The sales tax increase] is still in play. We still don’t have an agreement. As of 6 p.m. tonight, the sales tax is very much in play in various Senate [revenue] proposals.”

Murray says Garber’s story is overly optimistic.

“Some people have been wanting to just write about the sales tax and want to create a story that isn’t happening,” he said. “It could, but it isn’t at this point.”

The House and Senate have disagreed about whether to raise the sales tax as part of the way to close the $2.7 billion budget deficit, with the House favoring a heavier increase in B&O taxes and a lower ending fund balance and the Senate favoring a sales tax increase in addition to more widespread but lighter B&O increases, with a heftier ending fund balance.