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Wash. Legislature takes first whack at budget

THURSDAY, JAN. 22, 2009, 2:02 P.M.

OLYMPIA — Majority Democrats in the Legislature are unveiling their plans for immediate budget cuts.

The state is facing a deficit of about $6 billion through the 2011 fiscal year. There’s pressure on the Legislature to make some cuts now, so they’ll save more money in the long run.

The Democrats’ plan puts more force behind some of the cuts suggested by Gov. Chris Gregoire. For instance, they’re cutting more than 4 percent from legislative and judicial administrative budgets.

They also want to take some steps the governor didn’t — like freezing salaries for nonunion state workers, and keeping plans to increase children’s health care.

Overall, lawmakers say the plan could save about $400 million in the current budget.

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