Gov. Gregoire praises Washington Legislature - Spokane, North Idaho News & Weather KHQ.com

Gov. Gregoire praises Washington Legislature

OLYMPIA, Wash. (AP) - Gov. Chris Gregoire is praising the Washington Legislature for its work that wrapped up early Tuesday with the end of the special session in Olympia. In a statement she says the budget passed by lawmakers is "fair and reasonable" and will not significantly impact the average Washington family or penalize local businesses.

Gregoire says lawmakers had to make difficult decisions to make up a multibillion dollar budget gap caused by the recession. She says the job now is economic recovery.

The state Senate gave the final vote Monday night, endorsing the spending plan 25-21. The state House passed the bill on Saturday. It now heads to Governor Chris Gregoire for a final signature.  

The new budget adjusts state spending through June 2011. Certain state programs would be cut by about $755 million, including K-12 schools, universities, and corrections. A revenue package of close to $800 million is a key part of the budget. Among the taxes approved by the Legislature to bring in that revenue: 

  • A business-and-occupation tax surcharge that would raise about $242 million by increasing the B&O tax paid by service businesses, such as doctors, lawyers, accountants and hairdressers, from 1.5 to 1.8 percent.
  • New taxes on the portion of business some out-of-state companies do in Washington state would raise about $85 million. Those taxes would mainly hit banks and credit-card firms.
  • Taxes on beer, soda, candy and bottled water would bring in more than $150 million combined.
  • Taxes on cigarettes amounting to about a dollar a pack that would bring in $100 million.

 The budget also counts on federal bailouts and other one-time accounting fixes.

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