HEADLINES : Washington
Legislature slower on budget than Gregoire wants
OLYMPIA - Despite a budget crisis and a governor eager for action, state lawmakers returned to Olympia this week with no signs the emergency is translating into urgency.
Gov. Chris Gregoire wants the cuts to be finished by Christmas, but top budget writers are already saying they aren't likely to complete their work until sometime in the new year. There was no public progress toward an agreement this week.
Democratic Sen. Ed Murray, of Seattle, said negotiators have been in daily meetings, going line-by-line through the spending, and he didn't see how it was possible for lawmakers to rush through and finish their work in December.
"I think it would be irresponsible if we did that," Murray said.
Gregoire said she's not willing to accept the Legislature can't finish in December because she has been sounding the alarm about the budget for months, telling agencies to prepare for deep cuts in August.