Washington state to avoid government shutdown -governor

SAN FRANCISCO, June 27 Thu Jun 27, 2013 7:45pm EDT

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SAN FRANCISCO, June 27 (Reuters) - Washington's state government will avert a shutdown next week after lawmakers struck a deal on an operating budget, Governor Jay Inslee said on Thursday.

The agreement "makes it clear" Washington's government will have its finances in order to continue to operate on Monday, the first day of the state's next two-year budget cycle, Inslee said in a statement posted on his website.

"We will be notifying state employees to report to work Monday," Inslee said. "Government operations will not be interrupted."

Temporary layoff notices went out earlier this week to thousands of state workers in case lawmakers failed to reach an agreement by the end of the month.

Inslee, a Democrat, said he now expects to sign a budget on Friday. "Legislative leaders tell me they will move as quickly as possible to pass the budget and get it to me for my signature," he said. "They say that can be done by 5 p.m. Friday."

House Appropriations Chairman Ross Hunter, a Democrat, told Reuters by telephone the House of Representatives and state Senate would vote on Friday on the $33.5 billion operating budget.

"Our goal is to get it passed in both chambers tomorrow," he said.

Lawmakers have been divided over how to use funds for education but they have been narrowing their differences over the past week, helped by an improved revenue outlook.

The state's Economic and Revenue Forecast Council last week raised its revenue outlook for the next budget cycle by $121 million, citing an increase in home building and taxable real estate activity.

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