Gregoire to sign operating budget, other key bills



OLYMPIA, Wash. (AP) — Gov. Chris Gregoire is preparing to approve a new state operating budget that relies on cuts to education to fill a $5 billion budget shortfall.

The budget is part of a long list of key bills that Gregoire is scheduled to take action on Wednesday afternoon. She could veto parts or all of the bills. State Auditor Brian Sonntag is asking her to veto plans to take money away from a performance-audit fund.

Other bills on Gregoire’s agenda include the state’s construction budget, an overhaul of the state’s workers’ compensation system and new limits on the state’s debt.

The operating budget includes pay cuts for both teachers and state employees while relying on double-digit tuition increases to help fund higher education.