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Wednesday, November 18, 2009

The Economic and Revenue Forecast Council will release tomorrow their latest projection of how much revenue the state will raise in the 2009-11 biennium. It will likely be the ninth straight revenue forecast that has brought bad news to Washington State, revealing a deficit that could be as high as $2.5 billion.

Over the last six months, the ongoing economic recession has pummeled away at our state’s budget outlook. Last May when the Governor signed the current budget, lawmakers expected an ending fund balance of nearly half a billion dollars plus $250 million in the rainy day fund for the 2009-11 biennium. Since then, the recession and other factors have instead combined to create a $2 billion shortfall.

This forecast is particularly important because it will set the parameters for the Governor’s budget proposal, which is expected to be released in about three weeks. Because of the worsening outlook, the Governor’s budget will likely propose deep cuts in core public structures, on top of those already passed last session. These cuts come at a time when Washingtonians can least afford them.

It's time to talk about a more balanced solution that includes revenue in order to protect our essential investments in public priorities.

Stay tuned for new analysis of the state budget and possible solutions in the coming days.

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