Lawmakers reach tentative budget deal

first_imgOLYMPIA — Washington lawmakers reached a tentative agreement on a new state budget Monday and prepared to hurriedly approve the spending plan before their overtime session in Olympia comes to an end.Leaders in the Senate and House said they won’t unveil specifics of the compromise until today and hope to pass it through both chambers by Wednesday. That will leave many lawmakers and the public with a chance to briefly review the massive plan that seeks to close the state’s $5 billion budget shortfall.Sen. Ed Murray, a Democrat from Seattle who served as one of the lead negotiators, noted that lawmakers have already had many previous budget hearings and that the new deal offers nothing new. “The public has seen every single item in this budget,” Murray said. “There are no surprises.” House Republican Leader Richard DeBolt said one day probably wasn’t enough time for the public to fully assess the plan. But he wasn’t going to stand in the way of its passage and force lawmakers to remain in Olympia longer.The Legislature wasn’t able to reach a deal on the spending plan when its regular session ended a month ago, leading Democratic Gov. Chris Gregoire to call them back for 30 days of overtime. Negotiators have been grappling over a series of challenging choices: whether to cut pay for teachers, how to save money in higher education and which social programs could do with less money.last_img

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