OLYMPIA, Wash. (AP) -- In laying out the case for a possible tax increase, Washington Gov. Chris Gregoire stood by a pie chart and talked about how the state had already cut $10.5 billion since 2008.
That number is only true if you stretch the interpretation of what a budget cut is.
Even if her new round of $1.7 billion of budget reductions go through, Washington is still scheduled to spend about $30 billion in its current general fund budget, only $1.5 billion less than the peak a few years ago.
Many of the hundreds of cuts Gregoire and other Democrats have tallied are simply automatic spending increases that didn't end up happening. For example, because the state twice suspended automatic cost-of-living adjustments for education employees, budgeters counted it as a "cut" of $682 million.
AP Writer Mike Baker can be reached at http://twitter.com/MikeBakerAP