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Fri., Feb. 26, 2010, 6:02 p.m.

WA Lege Day 47: House budget moves without tax numbers

OLYMPIA -- The House committee that oversees spending passed a Democratic plan to fix the $2.8 billion gap in the state budget Friday. But that bill had a gap of its own.

It calls for some $857 million in new tax revenue, but doesn't specify where it comes from.

"We are the Ways and Means Committee, and this budget is going to require some new taxes," Ranking Republican Gary Alexander of Olympia said. The ways to spend money are spelled out, but the means are not, he said.

Democrats acknowledged it was unusual to pass a budget without taxes in it, but that information will be added eventually.

"This is not the budget we're going to vote on before March 11 -- God willing," Chairwoman Kelli Linville, D-Bellingham, said.

Budget writers are still trying to craft a package of tax increases that can get the needed support within their caucus.

"We don't have a revenue package completed yet. I'm disappointed in that, too," Vice Chairman Mark Ericks, D-Bothell said.But if the taxes were spelled out, he doubted  Republicans would have voted for it, anyway.

The House budget proposal moved out of committee on a 12-10, party-line vote.

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The Spokesman-Review's political team keeps a critical eye on local, state and national politics.