WA faces $1.3B shortfall; lawmakers eye new cuts

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OLYMPIA, Wash. (AP) -- Washington faces a $1.3 billion shortfall for the current two-year budget cycle, forcing lawmakers to consider a fresh round of cuts.

Lawmakers said Thursday they are already discussing new ways to address the shortfall, just months after finalizing a plan to make $4.6 billion in projected spending reductions. Gov. Chris Gregoire is considering the possibility of asking the Legislature to come back soon to start balancing the budget before lawmakers are scheduled come back in January.

Republicans budget writers still say tax increases are still not acceptable, and they can block any such proposals because of a voter-approved initiative that requires a two-thirds majority to pass them. Democrats are considering a proposal that would ask voters to approve taxes in order to support education, which has faced much of the cuts.