GOP's top budget writer in state Senate to retire

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OLYMPIA, Wash. (AP) -- The top Republican budget writer in the state Senate is retiring.

Ridgefield Sen. Joe Zarelli said in a statement Friday evening that he hopes he left state government better than how he found it. He says the last few years have been both wearing and rewarding.

Zarelli led a budget revolt in the state Senate this year the helped drive a major overhaul in some state policies, such as curtailing early retirement benefits and requiring new rules for balanced budgets. He has held the budget-leading role for the Senate Republicans since 2004.

Zarelli says there is more work needed to be done to get the state's finances under control.