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State Budget Crisis
Lawmakers convene to address budget gap
It was short and bittersweet. Washington lawmakers convened Saturday in a rare, lame duck special session. Their job: take a bite out of the billion dollar hole in the current two-year budget. Lawmakers passed three pieces of legislation.
The main budget bill trims about half-a-billion dollars from the current problem through a combination of cuts and one-time fund transfers. House Majority Leader Pat Sullivan, a Democrat, warned the cuts will have real impacts on real people.
"These are difficult decisions, Mr. Speaker, that we’re all making here today. But it’s also just a first step because we know that we have a $1.1B shortfall here," says Sullivan.
The special session had an air of bipartisanship. Minority Republicans participated in crafting the deal and provided votes to pass the measures. All told, lawmakers their actions will shrink that $1.1 billion hole by about half. But Washington still faces a multi-billion dollar shortfall in the next two-year budget. Lawmakers will convene for the regular session in January.