Gov. Chris Gregoire says the budget gap is large, but the options for closing it are small, during a press conference Monday.
OLYMPIA -- Warning that every month is critical in solving the state's looming budget deficit, Gov. Chris Gregoire tried to prod legislators into suggesting their budget cuts for the rest of the fiscal year.
Gregoire said that three of the legislative leadership groups she'd ask for budget-cutting suggestions by today have asked for more time. She has no time table yet for deciding when or whether to call a special session to address a projected $385 million gap between state revenue and state expenses.
Last week, she proposed a series of cuts to state programs that are on the books, including the Basic Health Plan and Disability Lifeline. But many can't be changed without at least 30 days of notice to recipients; it's required by law, and it's fair, she said.
"We're taking away people's livelihood," she said. "We're taking away people's health care."
Every dollar put off now means more money that has to be cut near the end of the budget cycle, Gregoire said. "For every inaction, there is going to have to be a counter action."