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February 27, 2012 at 6:01 PM

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Senate Democrats' budget would not cut education

State Senate Democrats will proposed a budget Tuesday that spares K-12 and higher education from additional cuts, Senate Ways and Means Chairman Ed Murray said Monday.

Murray is scheduled to roll out his caucus's budget at 10:30 a.m. on Tuesday. In addition to no education cuts, the budget will not propose sending voters a sales tax increase, he said, adding that "it's highly unlikely" such a proposal would be made this session.

Those were the only details Murray was willing to divulge. He would not discuss proposed cuts, or whether his budget would delay certain K-12 payments like the House Democrat's proposal last week.

House Democrats have suggested delaying a June 2013 K-12 payment until July 2013, which puts the expenditure into the next two-year budget cycle. They also would delay levy-equalization payments -- money that supports "property-poor" districts -- in a similar fashion. Combined, the delayed payments push a little over $400 million in spending into the next budget.

Aside from the delayed payments, the House budget also had net K-12 cuts of around $8 million, according to budget documents.

Higher education in the House proposal got hit harder with a net cut of $51 million, plus another $10 million reduction to the state Need Grant.

"Our position is that now is the time to stop cutting, and that for K-12 and higher education we're going to stop," Murray said.

Sen. Joe Zarelli, the ranking Republican on the Senate Ways and Means Committee, said he doesn't expect GOP support for the Democrats' proposal, although he hasn't seen their budget yet.

Any delayed payments to schools would be a "no-starter" for Republicans, Zarelli said. Murray would only say that Zarelli hasn't seen the latest proposal.

The job of balancing the state budget was made easier this month with the unexpected news that a combination of reduced demand for state services and a slight uptick in tax collections had reduced a $1.5 billion shortfall closer to $1 billion, depending on how much money is left in reserves.

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I wouldnt cut education either but the first thing i would ask myself is do we have... MORE
Murray "Our Budget will not cut Education!" Details not available and were... MORE
Republican PLAN: Fund Education FIRST!!! MORE

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