Wash. Governor Open To Taxes, Fees To Avoid Full $2 Billion In Cuts

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Wash. Gov. Chris Gregoire says she's open to "revenues" that offset another $2 billion in cuts hide caption

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OLYMPIA, Wash. – Washington Governor Chris Gregoire says it's time to look for new sources of funding for the state budget. That's a major shift from her position a year ago. The Democrat's comments Thursday came after she proposed another $2 billion in cuts.

About a year ago, Governor Gregoire went before the cameras and proposed $4 billion in spending reductions. This was right after Washington voters had gone to the polls and rejected a tax on soda pop and re-imposed a two-thirds vote requirement for tax hikes in the legislature.

"The only message I have before me right now is an all-cuts budget," Gregoire said. "I am honoring the people of the state of Washington and what they told me."

Flash forward to now and the governor is proposing another $2 billion in cuts. They include service reductions for the developmentally disabled and pregnant women. Less state supervision of sex offenders. And larger class sizes.

But this time Gregoire says she's open to ways to bring in new money to offset some of the cuts.

"We have to ask ourselves now, do we want to look at alternatives of revenue? What might they be and do we want to go there?"

Gregoire says this next $2 billion will cut to the bone of state government. So, she plans to spend the next month studying options for fee hikes, closing tax exemptions and even raising general taxes.

On the Web:

Governor's budget reduction alternatives:

http://www.ofm.wa.gov/reductions/alternatives/default.asp

Governor's budget message - 10/25/11:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_RPudr7SiuM&feature=mfu_in_order&list=UL

Copyright 2011 Northwest News Network

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