State parks to remain open under new budget

Despite the threat of closures, Whidbey Island state parks will remain open.

Legislators were able to come up with a $33.6-billion two-year spending proposal Thursday, according to news sources. Cutting it down to the wire, legislators made the agreement just a few days shy of their July 1 deadline, allowing the Washington State Parks department and other agencies to continue operating without interruption.

Had a budget agreement not been reached, a number of state-funded programs would have shut down July 1. That included state parks, the lottery and the liquor control board. Prisons would not have been able to accept new inmates, and offenders in jail for violating probation would have been released.

In all, 34 state agencies would have been shut down and 24 others would incur a partial cessation.

Only once before has the legislature come this close to a shutdown. That occurred in 1991 when the house and senate approved a budget early June 30 and Gov. Booth Gardner signed it shortly before midnight.

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