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More Grim Budget News

By Erica C. Barnett December 4, 2009

The Washington State Budget and Policy Center's Schmudget blog (Yiddish for budget) reports on a new presentation by the Senate Ways and Means Committee on the state of the Washington budget. The top-line takeaway? It's worse than anyone thought—because of federal restrictions, only about $7.7 billion of the state budget is available for cuts, as opposed to the $9.6 billion previously reported. (The state budget is $2.6 billion in the red). Worse: Human services are overrepresented in that $7.7 billion, meaning they're the most likely area to take a hit.

The committee broke down the bad news in a handy pie chart:

Budget+S+W&M+12.3.09_Page_10

According to WBPC, coming up with the $2.6 billion entirely through cuts could mean "elimination of financial aid, the Basic Health Plan, in-home services for clients with long-term care needs or developmental disabilities, and money that is used to equalize school funding between rich and poor districts."

Meanwhile, Gov. Christine Gregoire has said she will definitely propose new taxes as part of her 2010 budget. And The Capitol Record has more bad news: The capital budget, usually the source of rare good news in Olympia, is also in trouble.
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