OLYMPIA, Wash. (AP) -- Gov. Chris Gregoire is expected to call for deep spending cuts as officials start grappling with a $2.6 billion hole in the state budget.

Gregoire's budget proposal will be unveiled Wednesday morning at the Capitol. By law, she has to propose a budget that's balanced within existing revenues.

Expected to be on the chopping block are big-ticket items like the Basic Health Plan, and a welfare program called General Assistance.

Financial aid for college students also could get cut, along with money for smaller K-12 class sizes.

But it won't be the final word from Gregoire. She also plans to ask the Democratic-controlled Legislature for tax increases early next year, to avoid some of the deepest cuts.

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