Washington Lawmakers Say Budget Deal Is Near - Spokane, North Idaho News & Weather KHQ.com

Washington Lawmakers Say Budget Deal Is Near

OLYMPIA, Wash. (AP) - State budget negotiators in Olympia say they are optimistic that a deal can be reached as early as this weekend.

Top lawmakers from both parties and chambers emerged from a meeting Thursday evening to report that they were able to settle several issues. They declined to discuss details and said there was still work to be done in negotiating how to manage a projected shortfall of $5 billion.

Even if they reach a budget agreement soon, lawmakers could still have trouble finishing their work before the special session ends on Wednesday. Leaders say they need to finalize a deal on how to handle the state's workers' compensation system before voting on a budget. Negotiations on that issue have yielded little progress so far.

      
 (Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press.  All Rights Reserved.)

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