Wash. budget short about $2B through mid-2011 - Spokane, North Idaho News & Weather KHQ.com

Wash. budget short about $2B through mid-2011

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OLYMPIA, Wash. - Washington state's budget deficit is now about $2 billion.

That's the gap between the state government costs and expected tax revenue, through the middle of 2011 and it could get worse after state economists give an updated forecast of revenue trends next week.

Gov. Chris Gregoire and state lawmakers will have to fill the gap with spending cuts, tax increases or both. Gregoire proposes her budget in December, and the Legislature gets back to work in January.

The governor and top Democratic lawmakers have said they're open to tax increases to help balance the budget. The Legislature cut billions from spending earlier this year to help patch the budget together, but the bleeding still hasn't stopped.

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