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Health District special meeting set

This isn't strictly a Spokane Valley issue, but there has been widespread interest in the proposed budget cuts at the Spokane Regional Health District. Staff and program cuts are included in the $2 million reduction. The special meeting will be at 1 p.m. Wednesday in the District's first floor auditorium at  1101 W. College. A vote on the budget could take place at the special meeting or at the next regularly scheduled meeting on Dec. 1.

Special session on budget starts Nov. 28

OLYMPIA — The Legislature gets to spend the month between Thanksgiving and Christmas playing Scrooge to state agencies.

Gov. Chris Gregoire said she is calling legislators back for a special session starting Nov. 28 to deal with declining revenue projections that are likely to decline even more before they get here.

Nov. 28 is the Monday after Thanksgiving, and by law a special session can last up to 30 days. How long it lasts is up to legislators, who will be wrestling with Gregoire's request to cut $2 billion out of the budget they approved for the 2011-13 fiscal cycle just five months ago…

Gregoire: No special session before November

Gov. Chris Gregoire at the Suncadia Lodge.

CLE ELUM — Washington's economic outlook is so much more likely to get worse in the next two months that Gov. Chris Gregoire said she won't call the Legislature into a special session until November.

"It would be premature for me to call them back before the next forecast. They need to know how large the problem is," Gregoire said.

Speaking to the annual "policy summit" of the Association of Washington Business, Gregoire said the state's chief economist has told her it's about four times more likely the state's revenue outlook will be worse for his November forecast than it was last week. That's when he said the state can expect a drop of about $1.4 billion from the amount the Legislature expected when it wrote the 2011-13 general fund budget.

Before last week's forecast, Gregoire told state agencies to prepare plans to cut 5 percent and 10 percent from their current appropriations. But Chief Economist Arun Raha's forecast last week essentially blew those apart.

"Neither of those would be enough," she said.

The asssociation, which represents businesses throughout the state, is holding its annual conference at the Suncadia Lodge, a golf, winery and lodging complex on the eastern slope of the Cascades. Advocates for higher taxes on businesses are massed at the entrance, demanding an end to tax preferences — they use the term loopholes — for businesses rather than another "all cuts" budget.

Gregoire didn't mention a tax preferences of a tax hike in her talk to the business leaders, and none asked her about them in the brief question and answer session after her speech. But she left open the prospect that the state would consider some, urging the crowd "everything is on the table" — presumably taxes as well as cuts.

"I'm asking you… not to draw lines in the sand," she said.

Coroner Wilkey Busts Budget

Item: Coroner busts budget: Wilkey: High number of autopsies is to blame/Alecia Warren, CdA Press

More Info: Due to a high number of autopsies, the Kootenai County commissioners have injected an extra $50,000 into the coroner's budget to make it to the end of the fiscal year next month. "She told us what she had for current payables and what was projected through September," said Commissioner Jai Nelson. The budget for autopsies will also increase next fiscal year, from this year's $135,000 to $150,000. The commissioners want to take a closer look at the coroner's expenditures, Nelson added.

Question: Do you blame autopsies or inexperience for the budget busting in the coroner's office?

Saturday’s highlights

Washington State governor Christine Gregoire has declared State Highway 27 from Tekeo to Rockford as a scenic highway at the urging of Rockford Mayor Micki Harnois. This picture was taken south of Fairfield, looking north. SR photo/J. Bart Rayniak

Let's just start by saying "Oops." Somehow the ending of my story on Highway 27 from Rockford to Tekoa never got on the page. We got a bunch of calls about this over the weekend. We'll rerun the story (the whole story) in Thursday's Valley Voice. But you can also read the full stoy here.

Reporter Lisa Leinberger talked to the Earth Science Teacher of the Year Dorinda Belcher, who works at North Pines Middle School. She also has a news-packed education column, so check that out to see what is going on in the various school districts. The Spokane Valley City Council spent a day last week talking about the 2012 budget. No decisions were made, but they went through each department's budget.

Also, for those of you wondering what happened to the Liberty Lake police blotter, it didn't fit and will also run in Thursday's Valley Voice.

West Valley budget meeting

The West Valley School District will host another special meeting tonight to get community input on what programs to cut and what programs to keep. The district is anticipating a fair-sized cut in the funds it receives from the State. The meeting will be from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. tonight at West Valley High School, 8301 E. Buckeye Ave. This will be the last special meeting to discuss the budget, so if you haven't had a chance to have your say yet, head on over.

Murray: ‘No surprises’ in budget

OLYMPIA — Budget negotiators continue to hold tight on the details of the general operating budget while insisting there is no problem with the agreement.

It's at the printer, will be distributed Tuesday to members at 9 a.m. and to the news media at 10 a.m. There will be no hearings on the budget (Tuesday is,after all, the 29th day of a 30 day session) but Murray said that's standard operating procedure. There will be hearings on about a dozen proposed changes to state law needed to make the budget work, he said.

"There are no surprises. There is no hidden information that people haven't seen," he said.

Murray had root canal on Friday and was taking antibiotics Monday for the procedure. "The budget negotiations were worse than root canal."

Spec Sess Day 28: Budget deal done

Rep. Ross Hunter tells reporters Monday there's a deal on the operating budget, but it won't be released until Tuesday.

OLYMPIA — Budget negotiators have reached deal on the 2011-13 operating budget, Sen. Ed Murray, D-Seattle confirmed late this morning.

"The good news is we have a budget. The bad news is it's a painful budget with some deep cuts," Murray said.

Don't ask what's in it yet. The contents will be released to legislators Tuesdsay morning, tentatively at 9 a.m., and to the public about an hour later. In the meantime, it has to go to the printer.

"I'm not going to discuss details," Rep. Ross Hunter, D-Medina, repeated a half-dozen times as reporters questioned him in the House wings.

Negotiators reached an agreement and shook hands about 11 p.m. Sunday. Staff is going over the details to make sure what negotiators agreed to is what they thought they agreed to. "There will not be any big issues that block us from solving it," Hunter said.

Negotiators had been meeting every evening until 10 or 11 p.m., he said. "There were a couple of moments when theings were a little testy," he said.

Asked whether the budget will get strong support from both parties in both houses, Hunter said: "It will get at least 76 votes." Which is to say, at least 50 votes in the House, 25 in the Senate and the governor's signature.

Day 26: Workers comp deal ‘very close’

OLYMPIA – Legislators may reach a deal sometime today on one of the key stumbling blocks to passing a budget and adjourning, a spokesman for Gov. Chris Gregoire said Saturday evening.

They still disagree on major changes proposed for the state’s workers compensation system but progress was made in a day of negotiations, Jim Justin, Gregoire’s legislative director, said. "We are very close. Something’s going to happen in the next 24 hours."

But a deal is not guaranteed, he added: "Is there a potential for it to still blow up? Yes."

Justin spoke as the Legislature adjourned after a rare Saturday session. . .

To read the rest of this post, click here to go inside the blog.

Sunday Spin: Are we in Oz, or what?

OLYMPIA – May might be the cruelest month in the state capital. The rain gives way only sporadically to sun breaks, momentarily lifting the gray gloom that shrouds the dome most days and giving everyone a glimpse of snow-covered Olympics jutting up beyond a sparkling Budd Inlet.

And then it’s gone, with most capital denizens the crankier for being reminded about what they are missing.

Yes, the cherry blossoms were in bloom for a while, until beaten off the trees by intermittent downpours. Yes, as a former Spokanite I am thankful it is not snowing. And yes I know that people who talk about the weather do so because they have nothing better to talk about.

One might assume that with the Legislature well into its special session – as you read this Sunday, it will be Day 20 of a 30-day session, two-thirds gone – there would be plenty to talk and write about: legislative legerdemain worked, compromises struck, budgets debated and passed. One would assume wrong.

The Legislature has come through a Tim Eyman supermajority of the special session as though the work schedule were set by the folks in the Merry Old Land of Oz: “We get up at 12 and start to work at 1/Take an hour for lunch and then at 2 we’re done.” It’s not clear, however, who’s having jolly good fun.

Spec Sess Day 18: ‘Zombies’ protest budget

OLYMPIA — Budget protesters dressed as zombies marched on the Capitol Friday in a demonstration against cuts to social services.

Well, shuffled is probably more accurate. Zombies don't actually move very fast, and these zombies moved so slow that by the time they got to the Capitol steps, the House of Representatives had already approved cuts to a key social service program, the Disability Lifeline, and adjourned until Tuesday. The Senate was out all day.

No matter. They performed a bit of flash mob theater, with their own rendition of the Monster Mash, rewritten into "Monster Slash." They brought their own saxophonist. The dance worked well. The chant — "What do we want? Brains. When do we want them? Brains." — didn't.

(Don't tell me it's in keeping with zombies. Efficacy is more important than staying in character.)

Heather Duke, an Olympia resident who joined the group, said she doesn't usually take part in protests but is concerned about the budget cuts and thought this was worth joining.

"I liked the creative forces behind this. We need to be extra creative to get noticed in the face of well-paid lobbyists," she said. "I hope this kind of action will spur other people."

To read the rest of this post or to comment, click here to go inside the blog.

An amnesty for tax deadbeats?

OLYMPIA – Business organizations regularly bemoan how little recognition, respect and support they get from the state. But evidence to the contrary was clear last week, when the state announced a “windfall” of some $321 million from a tax amnesty program.
It showed that when there’s something fishy about what they’ve been doing, businesses get the benefit of the doubt that poor people don’t.
Cheers for the money were second only to Mariner’s improving win-loss record, and with good reason. The state originally thought it might pick up about $24 million by offering businesses a chance to clear up their tax debts without penalties or interest. It got $321 million – $264 million of which the state keeps after sending local governments their share – which is real money in anyone’s book. It offers the Legislature, in the words of Gov. Chris Gregoire, a chance to balance the state’s biennial budget and “go home.”
No one seemed concerned, however, about the reason for the unexpected bonanza….

To read the rest of this item, or to comment, go inside the blog.

Special Session Day 9: Tax breaks assailed, defended

OLYMPIA – From frozen bull semen and chicken bedding to big banks’ mortgage profits, Senate Democrats took aim at the state’s system of tax breaks for businesses Wednesday.

They generated support from people who don’t want the Legislature to close the projected $5.1 billion gap in the state budget solely with cuts, including the Service Employees International Union, the American Association of Retired Persons and the Our Economic Future Coalition.

They generated opposition from the business owners who said they need the various tax credits, exemptions and preferences to stay afloat, including the state Retailers Association, Farm Bureau and Association for Washington Business.

And sometimes, the Senate Ways and Means Committee hearing generated chuckles or applause from an overflow crowd as members tried to sort through three different bills on tax breaks…

To read the rest of this post, or to comment, click here to go inside the blog.

Special Session Day 1: A day worth $253 million

OLYMPIA — The state may wait a day to pay public schools about $253 million this summer, and the schools would either have to do the same to their creditors or borrow money, as a way to make the budget balance at the end of the fiscal year.

The Senate Ways and Means Committee Thursday heard testimony Tuesday on what some regard as a budget gimmick, the shifting from June 30 to July 1 hundreds of millions of dollars for basic education, special ed, bilingual ed, transportation and other public school programs. Marty Brown, the Office of Financial Management director, called it "a wise thing to do at this point" and none of the members of the committee disagreed. The state would make cuts during the next two years to offset the payment.

Marie Sullivan, a lobbyist for school directors, said the state should allow the schools with cash flow problems to borrow from their own special funds to make necessary payments, so they don't have to borrow from counties and pay interest.

Sen. Joe Zarelli, R-Ridgefield, was skeptical: "A one-day float and you need to borrow money? Can't you just not pay bills for one day?'

When Sullivan said some of the schools' make payments through automated accounts, Zarelli suggested the districts merely freeze accounts for one day. "I just don't see the problem here. It helps us get through to the next biennium without making painful cuts."

What remains in the budget

After reading the detailed list of budget cuts to avoid a government shutdown by the House Appropriations Committee it looks like agriculture and food programs got hit extremely hard. In fact, the USDA budget will be cut by $2.6 billion, down from the $108 billion the department had been expected to spend this year. Again, one of the largest cuts it to nutrition and food programs — particularly WIC, the food voucher program for low-income women and children, is extremely saddening. With food prices rising, more will go hungry because of political posturing and compromising. There are no winners.

On the bright side, the budget is going forward that will retain the EPA's ability to regulate greenhouse gases. For now, at least. “We will keep coming at it … There are lots of different ways to skin a cat,” said Republican senator John Thune in regards to the EPA. Me-ow.

There are more environmental protections that took hits. Grist has a list of what remains:

Interior blocked from enacting a “wildlands policy”: This policy would have allowed the Bureau of Land Management to designate areas as protected “wildlands.” “Wildlands” are more flexible for energy exploration than “wilderness,” but Republicans apparently view any attempt at preserving nature as a slap in the face to their oil exec buddies. Now any “wildlands” designation will have to be approved by Congress, and you know how much they love nature.

WA Lege Day 89: House budget discussion begins and ends for a day

OLYMPIA — Floor action began this afternoon on the proposed House Democratic budget with a handful of amendments being approved by voice votes.

Republicans did not offer to substitute their alternative budget, which would cuts about $500 million more. "It wasn't submitted," Ways and Means Committee Chairman Ross Hunter said a few minutes before floor action started.

The amendments were mainly non-controversial house-keeping measures, corrections to things inadvertantly left in or out of the 450-page bill in the process of drafting and redrafting.

Now the budget must sit — lay on the bar, in legislative language — for 24 hours after the amendments are printed and added to the bill, so the members and the public have a chance to read it.

Debate and voting happens tomorrow afternoon.

WA Lege Day 89: Union rally and budget debate

Protesters gather near the World War I memorial on the state Capitol Campus Friday.

OLYMPIA — The last of four days of protests in and around the Capitol over a proposed "all-cut" budget will feature thousands of labor union members joining other demonstrators on the north steps at noon.

How many thousands isn't clear, but the steps were already filling up at 11 a.m., as buses dropped off more demonstrators on the Capitol campus. The unions brought their own "marshalls" to keep some semblance of order, and a healthy complement of state troopers is visible inside and outside the building.

Sometime this afternoon the House is expected to begin debate of the 2011-13 budget that demonstrators don't like. There are actually two budgets, the House Democrats' version that was reported out of the Ways and Means Committee, and the House Republicans' alternative, which the GOP will likely try to swap out through a striking amendment.

If there aren't other amendments as well, it would be a very rare budget indeed. All this is a way of saying that although the debate is scheduled to start today, it's not possible to predict whether it will finish today, too. The House is scheduled to be in session on Saturday as well.

Meanwhile, the Senate is running through a long list of appointments and bills that are not part of the budget.

WA Lege Day 88: Protesters arrested outside governor’s office

State troopers arrest Karen Washington, left, outside the governor's office Thursday.

OLYMPIA — Sixteen protesters were arrested outside the governor's office today in the third day of demonstrations against proposed budget cuts. Fifteen were cited for disorderly conduct and released, while one was also cited for assaulting two state troopers, and jailed.

Protesters swarmed into the Capitol Building around lunchtime, marched around the hallways outside the Senate and House chambers chanting slogans lilke "This is what democracy looks like" and "Who's house? Our house."

Around 15 were ejected from the House gallery when they stood to speak to the legislators on the floor below. After escorting them out, however, Washington State Patrol officers released them without arrest.

About an hour later protesters gathered outside the governor's office on the floor below the legislative chambers. While some confronted a phalanx of troopers in front of the office doors, others pushed in from behind. Patrol officials warned them that they would be arrested if they did not step back; the ones who remained were arrested, mostly without incident.

They were taken to a room on the lower level of the Capitol, where a patrol spokesman said they would be cited and released unless they have other problems, such as outstanding warrants.

Karen Washington, a home health care worker from Spokane, was among protesters in the House gallery, and was later among those group arrested outside the governor's office.

She said she came from Spokane on a busload of protesters to try to convince legislators to close tax exemptions for some businesses instead of adopting an all-cuts budget. The group went into the gallery because "we knew they wouldn't be able to hear us" inside the House chambers. The chanting is significantly muffled inside the chamber because the doors to the chamber are thick, and walls are lined with marble on both sides.

Protesters have talked to some legislators, but don't feel like they're making much headway, Washington said. "When the legislators say 'Yes we know, but —' There is no 'But."

More photos below.

WA Lege Day 87: Protesters settle in for night

OLYMPIA — About 100 protesters chanted into the evening in the Capitol Rotunda, ignoring a request to clear the building when it officially closed at 7 p.m.

There's no threat of arrest. The Washington State Patrol is prepared to stay the night if the protesters do. And some clearly plan to, because they've unrolled sleeping bags on the rotunda floor, right up to the seal of George Washington. Could be a long and noisy night.

WA Lege Day 87: House GOP counters with its own budget plan

House Minority Leader Richard DeBolt makes a point during the unveiling of the GOP budget plan.

OLYMPIA — House Republicans unveiled a leaner spending plan for 2011-13 than their Democratic counterparts, one that eliminates some social programs but spends more on education.

Like the Democratic proposal, it has no tax increases.

Republican leaders released the budget at an 11:30 p.m. press conference, and plan to offer it as a substitute for HB 1087, the House Democratic spending plan when the Ways and Means Committee meets this afternoon.

For details on the House Republicans' plan, or to comment, click to go inside the blog.

Wa Lege Day 86: Rain dampens protests

Protesters gather on the north steps of the Capitol Tuesday at noon.

OLYMPIA — Tuesday is the start of several days of protests over proposed cuts in the state budget. Organizers had promised to bring a couple hundred to the Capital from around Olympia, but it seemed that the protesters at the noon rally could be counted in the dozens.

One problem may have been the weather, which was sometimes rainy, sometimes windy, and often times both.

Weather may not get much better the rest of the week. Unclear what that means for future demonstrations.

WA Lege Day 61: How bad will forecast be? We’ll know Thursday

OLYMPIA — Washington officials are bracing for more bad budget news next week, and the only real question seems to be "How bad?"
Already expecting a $4.6 billion gap between the cost of existing programs and the expected revenue for the coming two-year budget cycle, legislative leaders have said that figure could grow by at least $500 million — and maybe as much as $2 billion — when the state economic forecast is released on Thursday.
Gov. Chris Gregoire used the $2 billion figure Thursday in an interview with The Spokesman-Review editorial board, and Republican legislative leaders put it at the top of the range they were hearing discussed during a press conference Wednesday.
State officials are already looking at an array of budget reductions, such as eliminating or significantly scaling back some programs like the Basic Health Plan and the Disability Lifeline, cutting funding to colleges while allowing them more power to raise tuition, cutting pay to state workers and charging them more for benefits. But even with all the proposed cuts, closing a $4.6 billion gap was already difficult so the degree of difficulty increases with the projected deficit.
"I don't know that we have a Plan B yet," Senate Majority Leader Lisa Brown said today.
Brown said she considered two ideas being floated by some House Democrats unlikely: One would be creating a "25th month" by using July's revenues to pay for expenses in June, the end of the current biennium; the other is "revenue securitization" which basically raises money now by a bond sale based on the promise of future revenue.
The Senate is "not looking at" the 25th month at this point, she said, and securitization "is not where we're headed….we're looking at the cut side"
But there are only a few things that can definitely be ruled out: "We will not do a sales tax on food. No income tax, either."
A sales tax on food, levied in the early '80s when the state faced an economic downturn, was quickly repealed by voters. Income taxes have been tried several times, including last year when an initiative to impose the tax only on "high earners" was soundly defeated at the polls."

Gregoire, too, has ruled out tax increases, saying the voters spoke clearly last year that they expect government to reduce spending, not raise taxes. The lower revenue projections may convince legislators to eliminate programs as she's proposed, rather than trying to pare them back as they did in a supplemental budget that tries to keep the state out of the red through June 30. Legislators are "going to see my ideas aren't so hare-brained in the next week," she told the editorial board Thursday.


Solution to save WIC funding from budget cuts

Two weeks ago I mentioned the unfair cuts to agriculture
, specifically to WIC funding. Here’s your chance to speak out. For a little background, the WIC Farmers Market Nutrition Program (WIC FMNP) provides vouchers to low-income mothers and children to purchase healthy fruits and vegetables directly from farmers at farmers markets. This program secured $613,000 in federal dollars last year.

The problem is Governor Gregoire’s budget maintains the program for 2011, but then it eliminates all funding for the program in 2012.  Without a state program the federal funds will go to a different state.

Here’s the request: Transfer $50,000 from 2011 funds into 2012 funds. This will not change the Governor's budget BUT it will restore the program for 2012. And it keeps federal dollars coming to Washington State for fresh, local fruits and vegetables for low-income kids.

Cutting earmarks…


Good morning, Netizens…


In his contribution to edification, cartoonist David Horsey attempts to depict the quandary surrounding earmarks facing our national leadership, regardless of their political affiliation. Earmarks, those subtle, sometimes very costly additions tagged onto otherwise existing pieces of legislation, have been the political footballs of members of both Democrats and Republicans for decades. An otherwise innocuous piece of legislation that might not otherwise alarm taxpayers, seems a perfectly good place to hide other spending.


Every instance a new piece of legislation is submitted for House or Senate consideration, the first thought that crosses my addled mind is I immediately suspect the legislation has lots of earmarks tagged onto the bill thus perpetuating the myth of “good legislation”, for I no longer believe that any legislation put forth by either political party is worth the cost of the ink to print it; the cost of the earmarks alone are far too costly for our troubled national economy to bear. But on the other hand, earmarks are what get political candidates elected and re-elected, year after nauseous year. Political candidates have made certain promises to their constituents that they will add certain budgetary line items to legislation for popular local items, and no one is wiser for it. If they cannot muster enough votes to put a local issue on the House floor, simply find a way to write it onto an otherwise innocent-appearing bill and nobody is the wiser.


What to do, what to do…


As of this morning, I have spoken with my omnipresent Sage, Arnold the Cat, regarding how best to deal with this issue of earmarks, simply because neither National Party has been able to keep their itching little fingers out of the pie. What is even more troublesome is that at this point in American history, we can ill afford to spend another penny of taxpayer's money; we are broke, or nearly so, and only a tight-fisted approach to our national budget will keep us off the economic rocks. Even a blonde hued feline house cat with little interest in national politics knows that much.


It is also readily apparent that neither Republicans nor Democrats can agree on where to cut earmarks. We have to fix our national budget! Of course, your results may differ.



WA Lege Day 23: Senate budget deal in works

OLYMPIA — State Senate budget writers have what's being described as a $254 million bipartisan budget agreement that could get a vote yet this week.
Just hours before a Senate Ways and Means Committee hearing, Chairman Ed Murray released a plan to cut more than either the House or Gov. Chris Gregoire previously proposed, but still keep some pieces of the Basic Health Care, the Children’s Health Program and the Disability Lifeline.
“This is another installment in a huge budget crisis in a huge economic crisis, ” Murray, D-Seattle, told reporters. “In a crisis this big, everybody gets cut.”
The plan reduces General Fund spending by some $254 million through June 30. It does that in part by reducing Basic Health Care through an enrollment freeze and new eligibility tests that include a valid Social Security Number; freezing enrollment in Children’s Health and dropping eligibility to families at 200 percent of the federal poverty level or less, down from 250 percent; eliminating cash payments for those in the Disability Lifeline program but retaining their medical coverage.
It also transfers some $25 million the colleges receive in tuition from students into financial aid. It makes smaller cuts to the public school budget by keeping some money for smaller classes in kindergarten through 4th grade but cuts some $23.5 million in “safety net” programs from schools.
It has a 3 percent salary reduction for non-union state employees that would start in April, three months earlier than the governor's plan. It also moves $6 million in profits from liquor sales into training for corrections officers in the wake of the murder of an officer at the Monroe facility last weekend.
The proposal was worked out with Republican Sens. Joe Zarelli of Ridgefield and Mark Schoesler of Ritzville, Murray said. They must still sell it to their caucus just as he must sell it to the Democrats. He would expect the proposal to pass with support from both parties.
“If we don't have a good count out of both caucuses, the agreement will shift,” Murray said. The full Senate could vote on it before the end of the week, and the Ways and Means Committee will be asked to vote on it Thursday.
The state’s General Fund budget was estimated in November to be about $1.1 billion out of balance through the end of June, and the state can’t run a deficit. In a special one-day session in December, the Legislature cut about $600 million, leaving another $500 million to be cut for the remaining six months of this biennium.
The latest Senate proposal cuts about $254 million, compared to $242 million in  Gregoire’s proposal and $222 million in a plan approved by the Democratic majority in the House without Republican support.


WA Lege Day 15: Budget debate in House

OLYMPIA — The first floor debate on budget cuts this session is scheduled for this morning as the state House of Representatives takes up a portion of the 2011 supplemental budget.

This is the budget that gets the state through June 30 — although not the entire budget for that period. The Legislature trimmed some things in the one-day special session in December, and this plan still leaves some spending questions unanswered.

But it does address cuts in education, Basic Health and the Disability Lifeline. The Democratic bill, HB 1086, has some Republican amendments.

Spin Control will provide updates from the House floor.

Elsewhere in the Capitol, a Senate committee is expected to vote on a proposal to do away with the 2012 presidential primary to save the state about $10 million. A House committee will be looking at the governor's plan to consolidate state agencies. Another House committee has a hearing on the Basic Health plan.

Otter: ‘No Time For More Taxes’

The governor said his proposed budget for fiscal year 2012 is “based on a modest but responsible 3 percent growth rate in our state revenue.” That's despite the fact that his own Division of Financial Management economists are forecasting 6.9 percent more in tax revenue will come into state coffers in fiscal 2012. Otter is proposing to budget to just the 3 percent figure - leaving $91 million on the table if the state's forecasts prove true. Lawmakers have been pessimistic about forecasts since revenues fell short in the past few years/Betsy Russell, Eye On Boise. More here. And: text of speech here.

Question: Do you have high hopes for 2011 Legislature?

Signe: No Free Lunch?

Signe Wilkinson/Philadelphia Inquirer

Mayor’s budget presentation Monday

Mayor Mary Verner will present her 2011 Budget proposal to the Spokane City Council on Monday during the Council’s legislative meeting in Council Chambers in the lower level of City Hall, 808 W. Spokane Falls Boulevard.  The Council has changed its meeting time on Monday to 4:30 p.m., from the usual time of 6 p.m.
After Mayor Verner’s presentation, the budget proposal will be in the hands of the City Council, who will hold public hearings on the budget on Mondays throughout November.  The Council must adopt a balanced budget by the end of the year to comply with state law.
Those who are unable to attend the meeting in person also can watch it live on CityCable 5, the City of Spokane’s government access cable station found on channel 5 on the Comcast cable system in Spokane, or on the web at www.spokanecity.org


 Via e-mail from the City of Spokane this afternoon.

Mayor presents budget Monday

Mayor Mary Verner will present her 2011 Budget proposal to the Spokane City Council on Monday during the Council’s legislative meeting in Council Chambers in the lower level of City Hall, 808 W. Spokane Falls Boulevard.  The Council has changed its meeting time on Monday to 4:30 p.m., from the usual time of 6 p.m.
After Mayor Verner’s presentation, the budget proposal will be in the hands of the City Council, who will hold public hearings on the budget on Mondays throughout November.  The Council must adopt a balanced budget by the end of the year to comply with state law.
Those who are unable to attend the meeting in person also can watch it live on CityCable 5, the City of Spokane’s government access cable station found on channel 5 on the Comcast cable system in Spokane, or on the web at www.spokanecity.org


 Via e-mail from the City of Spokane this afternoon.