OLYMPIA, Wash. – Washington lawmakers missed a midnight deadline Tuesday night to rebalance the state budget. But they didn’t go home. Instead, Governor Chris Gregoire called yet another overtime session. At this hour, lawmakers are still voting on a final budget deal. Olympia Correspondent Austin Jenkins has the latest.
Just before midnight, Gregoire appeared before the cameras.
Gregoire: “We have all agreed to a one day special session. This intent is folks to continue working through the night until the job is done.”
Gregoire didn’t want to lose the momentum behind a fragile bipartisan deal between the Washington House and Senate. It includes a rebalanced budget that would protect education funding and close a $500 million shortfall. The spending plan would accomplish that goal with a combination of cuts, fund transfers and even a tax on roll-your-own cigarettes. Lawmakers also plan to approve a package of public works construction projects. The goal is to create 20,000 jobs. And then there are a series of reform measures designed to save the state money down the road. One would scale back early retirement benefits for future state hires.
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