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Legislature edges closer to budget solution for Washington

OLYMPIA, Wash. — Republicans and Democrats are merging closer on tax policy as they begin to formulate solutions on the state's budget shortfall.

House Republican Leader Richard Debolt said for the first time Wednesday that they are willing to support a repeal of a tax break for banks. Senate Majority Leader Lisa Brown, meanwhile, said she wants to focus on working with the GOP on removing such tax exemptions instead of a ballot measure to increase the state sales tax.

Lawmakers are also getting a $340 million boost from a new forecast that shows people relying less on state services. They also believe they could get a slight benefit in a new revenue forecast Thursday because the economy has shown signs of stability.

The Legislature would still need to cut several hundred million dollars this session to balance the budget.

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