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Jerry Cornfield | jcornfield@heraldnet.com
Published: Tuesday, April 3, 2012, 10:43 a.m.

House to put out new budget plan Wednesday

House Democratic leaders said this morning they intend to roll out a new budget proposal Wednesday morning and hold hearings on several reform bills in the afternoon.

In a press release, the leaders said the House and Senate have not reached a deal but need to begin considering budget-related legislation if there is to be any chance of approving a new budget before the special session ends Tuesday night.

“We have been negotiating in good faith practically every day of this special session,” said House Ways and Means Chair Ross Hunter (D-Medina). “We've taken significant steps toward the Republican position, and are still willing to discuss the final sticking points, but the time has come to act as well as talk.”

The House Ways and Means Committee will hold hearings on several bills including ones end early retirement options for future state workers, consolidate health insurance plans for K-12 employees, erase the I-728 funding mandate from statute and require a balanced budget each biennium.

You can read about the bills and more here.

The House schedule emerged hours after Rob McKenna, the state's attorney general and Republican candidate for governor, blamed House Speaker Frank Chopp for impeding an agreement by blocking action on several reform bills.

McKenna also offered his paper on policies he'll pursue if wins his race against Democratic candidate Jay Inslee, a former congressman. You can read it here.

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