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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 | 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.

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