Lawmakers approve budget to avert shutdown

first_imgOLYMPIA (AP) — Washington lawmakers finalized a new state budget Friday, moving swiftly to avert a looming government shutdown.The House and Senate both voted by wide margins to approve the $33.6 billion spending plan, just hours after the 483-page bill was made available for public inspection. The measure now goes to Gov. Jay Inslee, who is expected to review the budget and sign it by the end of Sunday.“This has taken a long time to get here,” said Sen. Andy Hill, a Republican from Redmond who was one of the budget negotiators. “I think the end results, while they took a while and were painful, I think in the end it’s going to be a budget document that serves our citizens, and most importantly our children.”Inslee and House Democrats had proposed roughly $1 billion in additional revenue to help infuse money in the education system, but much of that was dropped as lawmakers got positive economic news and agreed instead to some fund transfers. They settled on two ways to bring in extra money, making changes in estate and phone taxes, largely in response to court rulings.“We have very, very modest revenue increases in this,” Democratic Rep. Ross Hunter of Medina said.Inslee said he would sign the budget no later than Sunday. Much of state government would be shut down if the spending plan hasn’t been completed by the end of the weekend.Lawmakers had been working on the budget for months and were supposed to finish the spending plan in April, but wide disagreements over a variety of tax and policy matters stalled talks. The delays forced state agencies to notify thousands of government workers that they could be temporarily laid off as of July 1.last_img read more