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Special legislative session to begin in Olympia

OLYMPIA, Wash. — Lawmakers return to the state capital for the start of a 30-day special legislative session called by the governor to address a projected $1.4 billion deficit.

Gov. Chris Gregoire wants the Legislature to send a temporary, half-cent sales tax increase to the statewide ballot as early as March, with the levy pinned to "buying back" cuts that could be made to areas like education and public safety. Gregoire's proposed budget calls for close to $2 billion in cuts, reductions to local governments and fund transfers, leaving $600,000 in the bank.

Democratic leaders in the House and Senate will produce their own plan in the coming weeks.

State officials are expecting more than 3,000 people from various groups, including Occupy Olympia, to rally at the Capitol building Monday to protest proposed cuts to state program.

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