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GOV. GARDNER ORDERS 2.5-PERCENT ACROSS-THE-BOARD BUDGET CUTS

 GOV. GARDNER ORDERS 2.5-PERCENT ACROSS-THE-BOARD BUDGET CUTS
 OLYMPIA, Wash., Nov. 22 /PRNewswire/ -- Gov. Booth Gardner today officially ordered all state agencies to cut their budgets by 2.5 percent, effective Dec. 1, as the first step toward reducing a projected budget deficit of nearly $900 million, the Governor's Office said.
 Only funding for basic education, debt service on state bonds and state pension contributions are exempt from the cuts.
 While the governor is required to make across-the-board cuts to avoid a cash deficit, Gardner said he decided not to go any higher than 2.5 percent at this time so that he would have greater flexibility in making up the deficit.
 Under the cuts, spending by state agencies will be reduced by nearly $205 million. Gardner has said that a variety of other options are on the table for reducing the rest of the deficit, including selected budget cuts, using the state's rainy day fund, cutting salaries in the second year of the 1991-93 biennium, and a general tax increase.
 Gardner will propose which options should be used when he releases his supplemental budget in mid-December.
 "Our nation's economy has been hurting for some time, and we're finally starting to feel the effects," said Gardner. "The pain has come home in a very real way. It will touch the lives of all of us."
 Gardner ordered state agencies to prepare for the 2.5-percent budget cuts in September following an economic forecast that showed a $198-million drop in revenue. On Nov. 18, another forecast predicted a further drop in revenue of $472 million.
 Gardner has also estimated that there are nearly $200 million in "must-do" new expenditures required of state government, such as funds required for K-12 education, prison construction and case-load increases in social programs.
 -0- 11/22/91
 NOTE TO EDITORS: Copy of the governor's executive order is available upon request.
 /CONTACT: Sheryl Hutchison of the Washington State Governor's Office, 206-753-6790/ CO: Washington State Governor's Office ST: Washington IN: SU: ECO


SC-JH -- SE007 -- 6418 11/22/91 13:21 EST
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Publication:PR Newswire
Date:Nov 22, 1991
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