Legislators sing different tune on budget I5 bridge

first_imgSouthwest Washington’s state legislators told business leaders on Friday they’re glad to take the baton from Gov. Chris Gregoire for what’s sure to be an endurance run of budget-cutting in Olympia.As for the Columbia River Crossing?Lawmakers are still playing tug-of-war — or maybe hot potato — on that prickly debate.It was a mixed message for an anxious crowd at the annual legislative breakfast sponsored by the Greater Vancouver Chamber of Commerce, Identity Clark County and the Columbia River Economic Development Council.Nearly all nine state senators and representatives on hand hailed Gregoire’s new budget plan as a clear-eyed starting point for cold-blooded budget cuts needed to close a nearly $5 billion spending gap for 2011-13.More important, they voiced hope the Legislature can replicate the bipartisan, no-nonsense approach in which it approved short-term budget cuts in a one-day special session last week.“We chose to work within the reality of the day,” Sen. Joe Zarelli, R-Ridgefield, told the Hilton Vancouver Washington assembly.“There aren’t a lot of options out on the table other what the governor (proposed),” Zarelli said. “I hope legislators realize that, early on.”last_img read more