HEADLINES : Washington
State House GOP unveils alternative budget plan
OLYMPIA — Republican lawmakers in the House are offering an alternative state budget proposal for the next two years that contains $4.7 billion in cuts, including the elimination of Washington's health program for the poor and most of a program aiding disabled adults.
GOP leaders say the plan unveiled Wednesday is more sustainable and responsible than the budget proposed Monday by the House's Democratic majority. They say their cuts are aimed at protecting three priority areas: K-12 education, public safety and vulnerable populations such as the developmentally disabled.
The Republicans' plan rejected a Democratic strategy to privatize liquor distribution in exchange for $300 million in one-time revenue. They call the idea a gimmick.
The state faces an estimated $5 billion deficit for the 2011-2013 budget. Lawmakers are working to pass a spending plan by April 24.