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Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Today, the Washington State Caseload Forecast Council (CFC) released its revised caseload projections for the 2009-2011 biennial budget. The Office of Financial Management (OFM is the Governor's budget office) predicts that CFC's current caseload forecast will increase the cost of maintaining current budget commitments by $250 million in the current biennium. Combined with the recent revenue forecast, the State is hundreds of millions short of the revenue needed to maintain public structures.

The rise in the caseload forecasts reflect the growing need for public services during the current economic recession. The projections below are based on OFM data:

  • Health care: State-funded health care for children and families will require an additional $183 million. To maintain mental health services, costs are projected to increase by $29 million and costs of serving more residents in nursing homes and in home community-based services are projected to jump by almost $9 million.

  • Economic security: Increases in the General Assistance caseload will require an additional $12 million.

  • Education: Changes to the K-12 caseload amount to approximately $10 million. Most of this increase is due to an additional 916 students from the time of the budget's adoption. The state expects less private school enrollment and a larger birth cohort which will increase the number of students entering school.

  • With the fiscal year starting today, the deep cuts in the state budget from the last legislative session will begin to be felt in these and other state investments.

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