Wash. Dems agree: Delay payments to fix budget

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OLYMPIA, Wash. (AP) — Democratic leaders in the Legislature are pushing hundreds of million dollars in delayed payments as a solution to the state’s current budget shortfall.

Senate budget writers unveiled their spending plan Tuesday, relying on a $330 million gimmick to help fix a $1 billion problem. The delay in school payments will mean that lawmakers will have to pay extra when the next budget cycle begins in the middle of 2013.

The Senate plan is similar to a House proposal unveiled last week, which had about $400 million in delayed payments. Democratic Sen. Ed Murray says the budget does not make further cuts in K-12 or higher education. The Senate plan keeps $370 million in reserves, lower than the House plan that left a half-billion dollars remaining.