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Originally published Sunday, July 20, 2008 at 12:00 AM

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Teachers, state workers got a big infusion

Half of the $8 billion increase in state spending during Gov. Christine Gregoire's term has gone to pay and benefits.

Half of the $8 billion increase in state spending during Gov. Christine Gregoire's term has gone to pay and benefits.

The governor says part of the boost was driven by earlier budget cuts.

The 2003-05 budget crafted by former Gov. Gary Locke and former state Sen. Dino Rossi, who was chairman of the Senate Ways and Means Committee at the time, eliminated cost-of-living increases for state workers.

The budget also suspended teacher pay raises called for under Initiative 732, which requires annual salary increases for teachers pegged to inflation.

Some of the increase under Gregoire also was driven by growth in the state work force and increased health-care and pension costs.

Still, workers and teachers have done well during her term. Thousands of state workers have received double-digit pay raises.

Copyright © 2008 The Seattle Times Company

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