OLYMPIA, Wash -- State lawmakers have adjourned their deficit-reducing special session after one day of work. Lawmakers approved a bipartisan $590 million deficit-cutting plan, taking a significant bite out of the $1.1 billion budget deficit that runs through June.
Representative Charles Ross, the floor leader of the Republican House says, "These are the decision that just have to be made now. The fact that we held a legislative special session for the first time in the history of Washington I think speaks volumes to the fact that we are in a fiscal emergency and we're all hoping the economy in general recovers and then we can go back to somewhat of a normal budgeting cycle. But for now the revenue, meaning the money that's coming in, if there's not a tremendous upswing in the economy, we are going to be continuing down this road of reducing government services which is what the tax payers told us to do.'"
The Legislature's package cuts state spending, raids off-budget accounts and counts on stepped-up collection of existing taxes. Further spending cuts and other steps identified by Governor. Chris Gregoire could add about $110 million to the deficit-reduction plan. The rest of the near-term deficit will have to be addressed when Gregoire proposes a supplemental budget.