No deal yet, but WA lawmakers close on debt limit

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OLYMPIA, Wash. (AP) -- A key Senate negotiator says Washington lawmakers are getting "close" to reaching a deal on the state's debt limit -- one of the last unsolved issues in the special session.

Republican Sen. Linda Parlette of Wenatchee said that no deal has been reached yet, but that negotiators were "getting close" after leaving a meeting with House Speaker Frank Chopp and other House leaders Tuesday afternoon.

The special session is scheduled to end Wednesday.

The Senate has wanted a constitutional amendment that would eventually reduce the state's usage of bonds from 9 percent to 7 percent of state revenues. But Democratic Rep. Hans Dunshee of Snohomish has said his Democratic colleagues in the House are unwilling to even support a compromise plan that would ultimately move the debt limit to 8.5 percent and create a suggested guideline of 8 percent.

Opponents of the Senate proposal say the curbs would lead to cuts for a variety of construction projects, including schools, that could force local governments to pay an increased share and potentially have to raise taxes.