Eye On Olympia

Time and money...

Gov. Christine Gregoire's been trying for weeks to tamp down expectations among groups seeking a slice of the $1.2 billion in reserves that the state now has.

"We must save now, in order to manage if money gets tight," she says.

She says there are some new costs that the state must pay: maintaining mandatory government programs ($86 million), covering costs for higher enrollment in schools and social service programs ($49 million), voter-approved raises for teachers ($34 million), court costs ($30 million) and so forth.

But a glance at the governor's schedule for next week also suggests a few other spots she wants to boost spending. (Her budget proposal's slated for release Dec. 20.)

In a series of "targeted investment events" throughout the state, Gregoire will highlight early childhood programs, energy assistance and the need to help students pass the state's WASL test, which by 2008 will be a high school graduation requirement.

Stay tuned...

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