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Washington budget shortfall grows nearly $800 million with revenue forecast

Post by Jordan Schrader / The News Tribune on March 17, 2011 at 12:57 pm with 17 Comments »
March 17, 2011 5:00 pm

Washington’s budget shortfall grew $778 million with the state revenue forecast released today, to about $5.3 billion that lawmakers need to bridge over the next 27 months.

“The problem has become more daunting,” House budget chairman Ross Hunter told reporters.

If you don’t consider a few big-ticket items that have already been cut in previous years and that everyone knows will not be renewed, the real amount that has to be cut or raised is more like $3.5 billion, Hunter said.

Projected revenues for the current two-year period have fallen 18 percent over the past three years, to about $28 billion. And projected revenue for the next two-year period has fallen 6 percent over the past nine months to the $31.9 billion that economists now expect to see the state collect in 2011-13.

That means $5.1 billion is the amount lawmakers need to bridge in the 2011-13 budget. It’s the amount that revenue – $31.9 billion – falls short of the $37 billion that Gov. Chris Gregoire’s office says would be needed to maintain state programs at their current level.

But that shortfall, it’s important to note, is not a drop in revenue from previous years. In fact, revenue is projected to increase by nearly $3.9 billion from 2009-11 to 2011-13.

Read press release

Read revenue forecast.

UPDATED 4:57 p.m. with correction to my math on revenue increase.

Leave a comment Comments → 17
  1. nonstopjoe says:

    When it comes to spending Gregoire has trouble saying no.

  2. Soundlife says:

    These elected slack-jaws just don’t get it.
    Any half-wit knows that when people are unemployed they don’t spend as much money; when people don’t spend money, businesses cut back non-essential spending.
    This normal economic condition results in lower revenues.
    Unfortunately we have the most incompetent people imaginable in office trying to forecast needs without taking into account the world outside their ivory tower.
    This article is actually embarassing as it shows how truely stupid our leaders in Olympia really have become…

  3. PuyallupGuy says:

    So when are we going to see some trimming of Government fat? Plenty of places to cut back, politicians just don’t want to make the unpopular decisions and affect their chances of reelection.

    Start with cutting entiltlements – people shouldn’t expect something for nothing……………….

  4. PolarBear53 says:

    Clearly to much spending; Sounds like to much overhead to many state employees.

    “But that shortfall, it’s important to note, is not a drop in revenue from previous years. In fact, revenue is projected to increase by nearly $3 billion from 2009-11 to 2011-13.”

  5. RoseofSharon says:

    I hope Ross Hunter’s comment indicates that the legislature is finally planning to stop all the diversion stuff and get down to resolving the budget issue….Focus, People! Dems in charge means the hard issues related to cuts in k-12 budgets will be delayed as long as possible…PLEASE GET ON WITH IT!

  6. julie1056 says:

    I say the current admin made this mess. Just slash and burn the programs. But I’m sure they will tax us more to get out of this mess. The only thing we can do is get these free spending yahoo’s voted out of office. Don’t they realize that thei solution just makes things worse!

  7. buell1999 says:

    Stop the state war on weed.
    Free the weed prisoners.
    Lay off the weed prison guards.
    Tax the weed.

  8. I love how the whiner’s solution is always ‘oh, it’s Christine’s fault, she blew the money all by herself’.
    Why prove your absolute ignorance of politics?

  9. taxedenoughintacoma says:

    This is not bad news. This is GREAT NEWS!!!!

    All you are doing to stave the democarts in Olympia is working. Paying with cash, barting, craigslist, ebay, etc. Do anything you can to avoid sending Olympia your money. The ONLY WAY they will ever stop the reckless spending is to starve them of your money.

    They have been waiting for months for this report. Now it’s time to start swinging the ax. Just wait for the entitlement groups, teachers unions, SEIU, and others start demanding tax and fee increases. Watch them like a hawk. Dem’s DO NOT know how to make cuts. They only know how to spend and raise your taxes. What will they do next??? It will be fun to watch these dummies squirm as they cut their favorite social programs that get them votes from the losers of society. They will regret funding these groups when they start turning on them.

  10. taxedenoughintacoma says:

    Here’s the true message in this story. “But that shortfall, it’s important to note, is not a drop in revenue from previous years. In fact, revenue is projected to increase by nearly $3 billion from 2009-11 to 2011-13.”

    Let’s do the fuzzy math here. We will have a 5.6 billion $ shortfall but we have 3 billion more in revenue????? An democrats will say we don’t have a spending problem. Wake up people!!!! We have a spending problem and Mr. Schrader just told you so. I wish he would have made his closing lines the opening lines. Jordon, is your bias showing again???

  11. “…it’s important to note, is NOT a drop in revenue from previous years. In fact, revenue is projected to increase by nearly $3 billion from 2009-11 to 2011-13.”

    Now, THAT should be the headline: “Despite increasing revenue (from taxes) the state still has a deficit…solely due to SPENDING”. This has been known for years by anyone who reads the state’s financial reports or listens to the few conservative news broadcasters in this state.

    Taxpayers have continually increased their input into the ‘revenue stream’ since Gregoire took over in 2005, it is ONLY due to unrestrained spending by the Dems that it hasn’t kept pace with their out-of-control spending increases totaling more than $12 Billion since she took office. The State budget was $25 Billion in 2005, now it’s $37 Billion, which means with a $5 Billion dollar current deficit that revenue went UP over $7 Billion since 2005 and there NEVER HAS BEEN a revenue shortfall, only a over-spending binge.

  12. Proconsul8 says:

    If you thought Wisconsin’s demonstrations were horrendous, you haven’t seen yet what the thugs of SEIU, AFSCME, WEA, and the Socialists, Marxists, Leninists, Communists, Anarchists, and the resident wackadoodles of the greater Olympia and Seattle areas are planning. Their goal is revolution, changing the social order, gaining control and instituting collectivism, righting “social injustice”, and worse. This tanking economic condition is what they seek and what they will violently exploit.

  13. troublemaker says:

    So the Legislature wanted to “wait for the March 17 forecast.” Why? They just frittered away another three months (Jan, Feb, Mar) in which they could have made cuts and gotten a little bit caught up with this huge problem. Instead they delayed (what were they thinking this forecast would say?) and now things are even worse. The dramatic increase in spending from 2003-05 to 2005-07 (nearly $5 billion increase in General Fund spending) came home to roost a long time ago and now it’s time for the same Legislators who approved that spending (or who encouraged voters to approve it) to pay the piper. And not with gimmicks like the 25th month or “securitizing” things. Get on with it, please.

  14. duckfan4ever says:

    First, we should stop prosecuting people for victimless crimes; then we should stop sending anyone to prison unless they are violent and dangerous criminals. Then we could slash the “corrections” budget by closing about half of our prisons and laying off a boat load of prison guards. Then we need to enact an income tax so that people pay taxes according to how much money they make.

  15. “Then we need to enact an income tax so that people pay taxes according to how much money they make”

    The last thing that should be enacted is an INCOME TAX. The damage done to this economy has been done by TAXES. We have entitled a class of government elite through unfettered access to the earnings of the private sector. Government at all levels in this state have demonstrated that they cannot be trusted with money they do not earn.
    John Adams summed it up two hundred years ago.
    “We have no government armed in power capable of contending with human passions unbridled by morality and religion. Our Constitution was made
    only for a religious and moral people. It is wholly inadequate for the
    government of any other.”

    The legislature needs to prioritize the real functions of government and fund them. All the rest needs to be cut. That will never happen as long as there is a Liberal…government oriented ,,,,,,majority in Olympia. Real cuts could be made but many of those elected owe their first allegiance to their government employee constituencies not the people of Washington.

  16. DeschutesMan says:

    Egad!! Never tell a woman she will have more money to spend next year! She will spend it this year! Our Governor (ugh) writes checks without a pen or money in our State Account. Sound like California to anyone? Maybe build a $57 million dollar School? And now million’s saved in wages and perks in our Ferry system? What a bunch of greedy State Employees that we have. No wonder we are going under and no one in the State really cares. The House has just passed more bills that will make new departments and hire more state employees. I give up!!

  17. Stop all public assistance to illegal//undocumented aliens. This would save the state $1B annually and approx $2 billion for the 27 month budget cycle. WA state is not a welfare state, the people of this state should not be paying…but my dear taxpayers we are!!!

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