Wash. Gov. Gregoire says tax hikes needed - NBC Right Now/KNDO/KNDU Tri-Cities, Yakima, WA |

Wash. Gov. Gregoire says tax hikes needed

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OLYMPIA, Wash. (AP) - Gov. Chris Gregoire says higher taxes will be needed to pay for health care, education and welfare programs as the state tries to climb out of the long recession.

Gregoire is presenting her plan for bridging the state's new $2.6 billion budget deficit Wednesday. By law, she has to balance the budget using only existing revenue streams.

The plan calls for heavy spending cuts. Programs slated for elimination include the Basic Health Plan for the working poor and the General Assistance welfare program for people who can't work.

Gregoire also would suspend several K-12 education programs, including levy equalization payments to school districts.

Gregoire plans to ask the Legislature for tax increases early next year.

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