Spin Control

Gregoire doesn't like the way House would pay for med school

Gov. Chris Gregoire congradulates Rep. Laurie Jinkins, D-Tacoma, for passage of a bill she sponsored extending domestic partnership rights to couples who have a domestic partnership or same-sex marriage in another state. (Jim Camden/The Spokesman-Review)
Gov. Chris Gregoire congradulates Rep. Laurie Jinkins, D-Tacoma, for passage of a bill she sponsored extending domestic partnership rights to couples who have a domestic partnership or same-sex marriage in another state. (Jim Camden/The Spokesman-Review)

Gov. Chris Gregoire congratulates Rep. Laurie Jinkins, D-Tacoma, for sponsoring a bill extending domestic partnership rights to couples with domestic partnerships or same-sex marriages in other states.

OLYMPIA -- A House spending plan that includes $35 million to start a medical school in Spokane is "a problem" because it adds more debt to the state than her budget, Gov. Chris Gregoire said Tuesday.

The House Capital Budget, released Monday, has millions more for construction projects than the budget she proposed in December but gets extra money from bond sales through what she considers a gimmick, Gregoire said. Instead of selling bonds only in the first year of the biennium, they sell them in both years.

"They have split up the capital budget over two years. That grows debt," Gregoire said at a press conference. "That is a problem for me."

If there had been room in the capital budget to spend money on the med school without increasing debt, she would have included it in her proposal, the governor added. If the Senate, which will produce it's own capital budget in the next week or so, finds a way to pay for it without extra debt "I'm all for it."

Gregoire was also skeptical of a plan in the House general operating budget to sell the state's liquor distribution center for $300 million and add that money to general expenses.

"I've asked (the Office of Financial Management) to thoroughly review it," she said. "It did not work in Maine. But I don't know why it didn't work."

The sale would be subject to a bid process, she added. If the money isn't available, the state would be without the projected $300 million put in the budget, and would have to eliminate programs the House budget tries to save, she added.

"I don't want to start with criticism of the House budget. I think they stepped up," she said. "But it's not and end (the session) budget. Some of it doesn't work."

Gregoire spoke to reporters after signing several bills, including one that allows same-sex couples who have a domestic partnership or marriage in another state to be in a domestic partnership if they move to Washington, and another that requires all counties in the state to use all-mail voting. Of the state's 39 counties, only Pierce County still has poll site voting.




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