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Washington Legislature adjourns special session
Originally published on Wed December 14, 2011 5:27 pm
OLYMPIA, Wash. – Washington lawmakers are headed home for the holidays. The legislature adjourned its special session Wednesday afternoon after taking a nearly $500 million bite out of the state budget gap.
Washington Governor Chris Gregoire called lawmakers back for 30 days to close a $2 billion hole. Instead, they stayed 17 and addressed about a quarter of the problem.
Adjournment came shortly after the state Senate voted to approve a modest package of spending reductions that previously passed the state House. The budget bill earned bipartisan support in both chambers.
State Senator Joe Zarelli is the ranking Republican on the Senate Budget Committee. He says there wasn't enough time to fully tackle the governor's budget proposals. For example, letting some prison inmates out early and reducing the time offenders spend on community supervision.
"Significant changes in corrections that we're all very concerned about and we need to find a way to do something different so we don't need to do the things she's suggesting," Zarelli says.
The governor proposed to buy back those cuts with a half-penny sales tax increase. That proposal and other tax hike options will also now wait until the New Year.
Copyright 2011 Northwest News Network