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The Spokesman-Review Newspaper

The Spokesman-Review Newspaper The Spokesman-Review

Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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Washington Senate approves budget

OLYMPIA – The Washington Senate gave overwhelming bipartisan support to a $32.1 billion spending plan that sets the stage for negotiations with the House in the legislative equivalent of extra innings. The 2011-’13 general operating fund budget pays for many of the state’s programs, agencies and salaries. The Senate proposal cuts almost all of them below the money needed to continue services at current levels.

McEuen remake could cost $40 million

A dramatic remake of McEuen Field, Coeur d’Alene’s aging waterfront park, will cost somewhere between $23 million and $40 million, according to cost estimates released Thursday by a design team. The biggest-ticket item is a two- to three-level parking structure that would cost $7 million to $14.7 million, depending on the number of levels. Other costs for the plan’s 27 different elements range from $55,000 for a sledding hill to $428,000 for a children’s play area and $2 million for a grand plaza and waterfront promenade.

Bipartisan budget proposal could get vote this week

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.

Gregoire urges changes in pensions, insurance

OLYMPIA – The state should cut off automatic pension increases to some state retirees and keep others from retiring and being rehired for their old jobs, Gov. Chris Gregoire said Monday. It should also revamp health insurance programs to find savings from large purchases and reductions in unneeded services, she added. The pension changes would be unpopular, and some health care changes will not be easy, she said: “We’re in the worst financial crisis in 80 years. Now is the time to make the tough decisions.”

Insurance rate restrictions sought

Insurance Commissioner Mike Kreidler wants authority to consider the amount of surpluses insurance companies are holding before approving rate hikes.