May 23, 2011

budget deal within sight?

Up until now, negotiations over worker's compensation were the major holdup in Washington state's budget wrangling. No more:
A path emerged Sunday for lawmakers to wrap up their work without delaying their overdue exit any further. It came in the form of an agreement between the Legislature’s four top leaders and Gov. Chris Gregoire to reduce the costs of the state-run insurance system for injured workers by $1.1 billion by 2015.

Lawmakers are putting the plan on a fast track to approval as early as today, giving the business lobby a version of what it has been demanding: an option for workers hurt on the job to take payments to settle their injury claims.
There's been movement, if not progress, on the education front, too:
Teacher pay remained one of many spending items on the chopping block. Rep. Kathy Haigh, D-Shelton, was resigned to seeing a cut to teacher salaries and said top budget negotiators had rejected her idea to cut the number of school days by a corresponding amount.

School districts that can’t persuade teachers’ unions to accept the pay cuts, she said, would have to make the cuts elsewhere.
If the extra session wraps up on Wednesday, teachers will know shortly after just how bad the bad news will be.

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