Inside Opinion

What's on the minds of Tacoma News Tribune editorial writers

NOTICE: Inside Opinion has moved.

With the launch of our new website, we've moved Inside Opinion.
Visit the new section.

Tag: revenue forecast


Make special sessions special again

This editorial will appear in Friday’s print edition.

What’s true about the weather holds for special sessions as well: Everyone complains about it, but nobody does anything about it.

In fact, special sessions are no longer very special at all; they’ve become par for the course as the Legislature routinely takes extra weeks after the regular session to hash out a budget every two years – as it is doing now.

So can anything be done to change that?

As it turns out, one simple change could make it less likely that a special session would be needed: Read more »


Lawmakers, governor face brutal budget triage

This editorial will appear in tomorrow’s print edition.

“I’d like to assure you this nightmare will end. But I don’t see an end in sight.”

That’s precisely what you don’t want to hear from the state’s chief economist, Arun Raha. His new revenue forecast has blown a $1.4 billion hole in the state’s biennial budget, which was already packed with an abundance of suffering. And $1.4 billion is actually an understatement: The necessity of restoring a prudent reserve makes this a nearly $2 billion problem.

The only faint hope Raha offered was the possibility of a 4.4 percent revenue bump

Read more »


Another revenue forecast, another reality check

Employment rebounded much more quickly during the 1981-82 recession than it’s doing today. (Washington State Economic and Revenue Forecast Council chart)

This editorial will appear in Sunday’s print edition.

One graph sums up the grim economic predicament lawmakers face as they struggle to write a new state budget.

Released Thursday – along with yet another forecast of falling revenue – the chart tracks current job losses against the 1982-1982 recession.

Back then, the state had seen slightly more than 50,000 jobs evaporate by the time it hit bottom, but they’d all come back about 27 months into the downturn.

This downturn makes that one look like the good old days. The economic slide that began at the end of 2007 kept sliding for more than two years – and slaughtered 200,000 jobs along the way. We remain down 179,000 jobs down more than three years in. The trajectory looks like a submarine that made a crash dive and is still scraping along the ocean floor.

The message: Get used to it. It’ll be a long time before we see the sun again.
Read more »


To tax or not to tax is not the question

This editorial will appear in Sunday’s print edition.

State lawmakers who thought they’d never live to see a session as ugly as this year’s may well be proved wrong.

Washingtonians aren’t in a spending mood, and that has led to what Arun Raha, the state’s chief economist, calls a “revenue-less recovery” from the recession. An additional $760 million has evaporated from projected revenue collections, and the state now expects to be $2.6 billion in the red.

That might seem like next to nothing compared to the $9 billion gap the Legislature stared down earlier this year, but this is one of those cases when appearances are deceiving.

Lawmakers have less time, fewer options and a much smaller shot at getting federal bailout dollars to plug this hole. The last infusion of federal aid is actually part of the current problem: It helped balance the budget, but it also prevents budget writers from cutting some key programs.

What to do, except buy Raha a new crystal ball and pray Washingtonians suddenly become shopaholics?

Read more »