Today's AP story by Curt Woodward hints at a tax hike to pay for the budget's overspending.
Washington's powerful House speaker has acknowledged the possibility of tax increases to balance next year's state budget, but adds that Democrats want to avoid such a step if possible.
Thursday's comments from Speaker Frank Chopp, D-Seattle, are the strongest signal yet that Democratic leaders think higher taxes could be needed to balance the 2009-2011 budget, which will be written by next year's Legislature.
Chopp's statements also seemed to confirm months of Republican warnings about the need for tax hikes or spending cuts ...
Finally, someone's taking the deficit projections seriously.
Brad Shannon in the Olympian explains where it goes from here.
Passage of the operating budget on a 31-17 vote — with only Democratic Sen. Tim Sheldon of Potlatch crossing party lines to vote against it — sets up negotiations between the House and Senate. Both set aside at least $750 million, but they have different priorities. Gov. Chris Gregoire also is expected to weigh in; she favors a bigger reserve.
Building the reserve to the $1 billion the governor has said she wanted will be tough - especially if the teachers' union gets its way.
Here's David Ammons AP story, with a more on taxes.
Next stop: negotiations with the House, with Gov. Christine Gregoire keeping a close watch. Meanwhile, Republican critics, including gubernatorial challenger Dino Rossi, are heading to the campaign trail, complaining of overspending and warning of higher taxes ahead.
House Speaker Frank Chopp, D-Seattle, declined to take taxes off the table, but told reporters that wouldn't be the Democrats' preference when they deal with next year's budget difficulties.
"We'd obviously rather not do that," he said. "But we've done that in the past when we've had good justification for it and when we've needed to make investments."
Makes that I-960 ruling look even more interesting.