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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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Eye On Olympia

Budget deal details trickling out…

The House and Senate have just about agreed on a final budget deal, key lawmakers say.

Some of the main points:

How much to leave in state savings: For months Gov. Chris Gregoire and legislative budget writers have been weighing how much to leave in savings this year. Gregoire in December called for $1.2 billion, then amended that down to $900 million after a bleak revenue forecast in mid-February. Lawmakers, who had a longer list of priorities, said $750 million would be enough.

Where it landed: "It's north of $820 (million) and south of $900 (million)," said Rep. Lynn Kessler, D-Hoquiam.

Teacher pay : Under a voter-approved initiative, teachers are automatically slated to get a 3.9 percent cost-of-living increase this year. The House wanted to add 1 percent to that as a catch-up for two years when lawmakers suspended the initiative due to a huge budget deficit. The Senate said it would like to do the same, but couldn't afford it right now.

Where they landed: The Associated Press and another lawmaker say the House and Senate split the difference: half a percent more, in addition to the 3.9 percent. Kessler wouldn't confirm that exactly, but said "we'll probably be somewhere around" that amount.

Short takes and breaking news from the Washington Legislature and the state capital.