Politics & Government

Washington State budget draft filled with cuts, no new taxes

Gov. Chris Gregoire on Thursday unveiled a two-year state budget that would close a $5.7 billion budget gap by freezing pay for some 250,000 state and school workers and would slash state spending by elminating programs and laying off workers.

The budget assumes an infusion of nearly $1 billion from the federal government.

But true to her campaign pledge, Gregoire, a Democrat, proposed no tax increases in the 2009-11 budget proposal she is sending to the legislature.

"Our state is facing significant economic turmoil," Gregoire told reporters in her opening remarks Thursday morning. "I have lived within our means."

Teachers and state workers who would go without pay raises for two years criticized the governor's proposal. So did advocates for the poor who will lose part of all of their state assistance and medical coverage.

But Republican legislative leaders, who are in the minority, embraced the overall size and philosophy of Gregoire’s budget.

"This is 2003," said Senate Minority Leader Mike Hewitt, R-Walla Walla, referring to the no-new-taxes budget offered that year by then-Gov. Gary Locke. "We like the size of the box. She's given the Legislature some good direction."

Read the full story at thenewstribune.com