Washingtonians approve rainy day constitutional amendment - NBC Right Now/KNDO/KNDU Tri-Cities, Yakima, WA |

Washingtonians approve rainy day constitutional amendment

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OLYMPIA, Wash. - Washington voters on Tuesday approved a constitutional amendment to create a nest egg for lawmakers to tap in case of emergency or a downturn in the economy. With more than 20 percent of the vote counted, the measure was ahead by nearly 69 percent.

The "rainy day" fund would build up to $1 billion or more during good times. During a recession or in the case of an earthquake, terrorist attack or other disaster, the money could be tapped by simple-majority vote in Olympia. Lawmakers also could access it with 60 percent supermajorities.

The measure would automatically set aside 1 percent of state government revenue each year, roughly $150 million. Once it topped 10 percent of revenue, the excess would be available by simple majority vote for school and college construction projects.

The fund would start with about $430 million, including last year's surplus and a $135 million deposit by the 2007 Legislature.

(The Associated Press contributed to this story.)