Gregoire says special session will be 'brutal'

OLYMPIA, Wash. — Washington Gov. Chris Gregoire is calling lawmakers back for what she expects will be a "brutal" special session focused on cutting the budget.

Gregoire said Thursday that she wants the Legislature back in Olympia to start work beginning Nov. 28.

The state needs to fill a projected hole of $1.3 billion in the current two-year budget cycle, and Gregoire said she'd like to find $2 billion in savings to leave the state with cash reserves. She predicted she'll "hate" the coming budget reductions even more than the last round.

"There will be more cuts that will affect our vulnerable citizens," Gregoire told reporters. "There will be more cuts in our corrections system. There will be more cuts in our public schools, our colleges and universities. It is simply unavoidable."

The new session comes just months after another special gathering in which lawmakers identified $4.6 billion in projected spending cuts — particularly to education.