Washington Senate Aims to Close $9 Billion Budget Gap - NBC Right Now/KNDO/KNDU Tri-Cities, Yakima, WA |

Washington Senate Aims to Close $9 Billion Budget Gap

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WASHINGTON -- The Washington state Senate's $33 billion operating budget for the two-year period beginning in July is about $1 billion less than the current budget.

The Senate is working to close a $9 billion budget gap and Washington's majority Democrats say they have to make massive spending cuts.

  • 8,000 state employees
  • 10,000 college enrollments  
  • 45,000 people who rely on low-income health care
  • No salary increases for teachers

The state is also counting on $3 billion in federal stimulus spending to help balance the budget.

The state House will release their budget tomorrow, and lawmakers will have to agree on a final version before they adjourn at the end of April.

Lawmakers are also expected to put a package of tax increases on the ballot, giving voters a chance to buy back some programs that are slated for cuts.