Watching the television advertisements, you'd think the candidates for governor couldn't balance their own checkbooks, let alone manage a $70 billion, two-year state budget.
The "Rossi budget" and the "Gregoire deficit" are terms that are tossed about routinely in the rematch between Democratic Gov. Chris Gregoire and Republican challenger Dino Rossi.
Each took a different approach to writing the state budget, but to a large extent both had to play hands that were dealt by the ups and downs of Washington state's economy.
Rossi helped write a budget in 2003 that froze or cut state spending because he was the Senate's chief budget-writer in the aftermath of the 2001 terrorist attacks, which sent Washington's aircraft-dependent economy into a downward spiral. People stopped flying, airlines postponed airplane orders, the Boeing Co. laid off workers, and the economic fallout spread.
Gregoire became governor in 2005 as the economy was rebounding, giving her more money to spend enough and allowing her to make up for some of the cuts made in the previous two years.
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