Politics & Government

Gregoire offers plan to fill shortfall

Just days after unveiling her two-year budget, Gov. Chris Gregoire on Friday introduced a supplemental budget meant to plug a $1.1 billion hole through June.

Gregoire’s supplemental budget proposal builds on the work started by lawmakers during a one-day special session last week. The Legislature’s bipartisan plan cut about $590 million from the deficit through a mix of actions, including reducing state spending and raiding off-budget accounts.

“My supplemental budget takes the next step to solving the shortfall we now face,” Gregoire said in a statement. “The cuts we have to take are just as painful as those in my budget for next biennium.”

Many of Gregoire’s proposed reductions in the supplemental budget mirror those that she announced Wednesday as part of her two-year budget that goes through June 2013. That budget made a series of cuts to deal with a projected $4.6 billion deficit over the twoyear period.

Both the supplemental budget and Gregoire’s twoyear plan eliminated the Basic Health Program, which provides subsidized medical insurance to 66,000 low-income Washingtonians. Also eliminated were cash grants and medical care for the Disability Lifeline program, which aids mostly childless adults who are unemployable but not receiving federal aid.

The cuts proposed under the supplemental budget, if passed by the Legislature, would take effect as early as March. The Legislature returns to Olympia to start the 105-day legislative session, and majority Democrats will present their own proposals.