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Washington’s Gregoire to Call Session on $1.1 Billion Deficit

Washington Governor Christine Gregoire intends to call a special legislative session before Christmas to deal with a $1.1 billion projected budget deficit for the current fiscal period, according to a spokeswoman.

Gregoire, a Democrat, announced her plans today after a meeting with legislative leaders, Karina Shagren, the spokeswoman, said by telephone. She’ll meet them again Dec. 9, Shagren said. The latest gap is forecast for the two-year cycle that ends in June.

“She’s already used across-the-board cuts and basically has exhausted that option, so the only other option then is for the Legislature to take action,” Shagren said.

Home to Microsoft Corp., the world’s biggest software maker, the state doesn’t tax personal wages. On Nov. 2, voters rejected a proposed income tax on the wealthiest residents and repealed a sales levy on candy, soft drinks and bottled water. The votes, coupled with a sluggish economy, led to projections that state revenue would miss forecasts by $1.2 billion through June 2013.

Gregoire in September ordered a 6.3 percent reduction in state spending to cope with projected deficits. At that time, the gap for the budget through June 2011 was forecast at $520 million.

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