February 13, 2009 in City, Region

Wash. lawmakers agree to early budget savings

Associated Press

OLYMPIA — Democratic leaders have worked out a deal to immediately cut about $300 million in state spending, the first major budget savings that will come out of the 2009 Legislature.

It’s a combination of administrative savings and cutbacks in state programs. The plan is almost finished working its way through the state House and Senate, with Gov. Chris Gregoire expected to sign the package into law early next week.

The early savings plan includes freezes on hiring and travel, and cutbacks in the rates paid to hospitals, for example.

Overall, the roughly $300 million in state spending cuts is a drop in the bucket, compared with a state deficit that will probably surpass $6 billion through 2011.

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