Workers from Tesoro's Anacortes refinery converged on the Capitol Wednesday to plead their case with lawmakers who are still struggling to balance the state budget and adjourn the special session that began Monday.

Workers from two other refineries were expected to make similar visits Thursday and Friday.

Their message: The state's five major refineries employ 5,000 people either directly or as contractors at an average wage of more than $100,000.

But the nation's refining industry is particularly vulnerable because of reduced fuel consumption, and is poised for a major contraction.

Any increase in the tax burden now could be devastating to Washington's refineries, which already pay far more in taxes than other states.

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