SEATTLE - Gov. Chris Gregoire says if $480 million in Medicaid matching money doesn't come from the federal government by Aug. 9 she'll have to consider a special session of the Legislature to deal with the budget.
She said Thursday she'll consult with legislative leaders to limit a session to a day or two.
"I don't want to waste money by having legislators around here, that's not going to help us," Gregoire told KING 5 News.
Gregoire said if the session were to last longer than a couple of days, she would be forced to make across-the-board budget cuts.
“If they are honest with me and tell me they can’t get it done,” said Gregoire, “then I’ve got to move forward.”
Gregoire said the last time a Governor called for immediate cuts was in 1991.
Gregoire says the state is facing a projected $3 billion shortfall in the next budget and the slow economic recovery is forcing fundamental changes in state operations.
To give the public a say in expected cuts, Gregoire is asking for ideas on a website and holding a series of forums. Meetings were held Monday in Tacoma and Wednesday in Everett. Others are planned Tuesday in Vancouver and next Thursday Spokane.