Spin Control

GOP leaders: Budget alternative likely

OLYMPIA -- Republican leaders say they may offer an alternative to House Democrats' supplemental budget, which is itself an alternative to Gov. Chris Gregoire's proposal.

At a noon press conference, House Minority Leader Richard DeBolt of Chehalis said Republicans have enough differences with the Democratic plan announced Tuesday they may offer a "striker" -- that is, a substitute proposal -- when the spending plan for the next 5 months reaches the House floor.

"We're floating up a test balloon to see if anybody (from the Democratic side) comes along," DeBolt said.

Republicans are particularly opposed to transfers, a term for using money in separate funds for general operating fund expenses. If they can't swap their plan for the Democrats' budget, they say they won't support any spending plan that move money around or relies on what Gregoire acknowledged was an accounting gimmick, delaying a payment to schools due on June 30, the last day of this biennium, until July 1, so it would show up in the next biennium.

"We're very clear about not doing any transfers," Senate Minority Leader Mike Hewitt said. Republicans believe the delayed payment would create a  hole at the end of the 2011-13 budget cycle that would lead to a call for higher taxes at a time when the supermajority requirement could be more easily amended.

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Jim Camden
Jim Camden is the Olympia bureau chief, covering the Legislature and state government. He also is a political columnist and blogger for Spin Control.

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