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The Olympian: Budget Guessing Game

By Josh Feit March 10, 2011

The Olympian's Brad Shannon reports on the big guessing game that's going on in Olympia right: How bad will the latest revenue forecast be?

For what it's worth, I've heard anything from another $2 billion to $750,000 to $200,000; the shortfall would hit both the current biennium (which ends on June 30 2011) and the upcoming 2011-2013 biennium—which already faces a nearly $4.6 billion shortfall.

The legislature has already dealt with a $13 billion shortfall over the course of the 2009-2011 biennium—with mostly cuts, federal dollars, and fund transfers. (Legislators eventually voted to raise some revenue—$870 million—about eight percent of the fix. However, voters rejected about $100 million of that—the soda, candy, and bottled water taxes.)

The legislature took up the final $1.1 billion of the $13 billion shortfall for the 2009-2011 biennium earlier this legislative session making $170 million in human service cuts and $90 million in education cuts among other fixes.

Shannon rounds up the predictions for the latest hit with some lively quotes:
"I've heard the forecast is going to be a half-billion to $2 billion (down)," House Republican Leader Richard DeBolt of Chehalis ventured today [Wednesday] at a media briefing. "If it's $2 billion, I think we'll just crawl under a rock …"

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