The quarterly Caseload Forecast Council’s report released Friday showed fewer children in Washington’s public schools and other smaller caseloads that brought good news for state budget writers.
Preliminary estimates are that smaller caseloads translate into $157 million in lower costs for the state over in the next 16 months, and Gov. Chris Gregoire’s budget director says the good news may actually top $200 million.
That is still a fraction of the $1.5 billion budget gap lawmakers are hoping to close in a legislative session that ends March 8. But the caseloads report comes as at least a few lawmakers have been talking about alternatives – one of which is to issue revenue bonds backed by tobacco or lottery revenues.