This editorial will appear in Sunday’s print edition.
Arun Raha didn’t crack a single joke. That’s all you need to know about the dismal revenue forecast the state’s chief economist delivered to state officials last week.
Sometimes introduced as “the economist with a sense of humor,” Raha has developed a reputation for injecting economic analysis with levity. But on Thursday, he had only distress to dispense.
Raha noted “considerable drag in the economy,” “little sign of an impending acceleration” and “greatly increased uncertainty” before announcing that the hole in the state budget had grown by another $1.4 billion.
Some punchline. The devastating revenue forecast left no doubt – if any had remained – that state government is in crisis. Gov. Chris Gregoire immediately ordered state agencies to cut $516 million out of an already deeply stressed state budget.