Wednesday, February 4, 2009

One cloudy forecast coming up

State Rep. Ross Hunter is a self-professed numbers guy. As chair of the House Finance Committee, he looks at a lot of numbers.

Now he gets to look at even more numbers as the newest member of the state's Economic and Revenue Forecast Council.

If you're an avid fan of legislative news, you've no doubt seen that the council plans to release a "preliminary revenue forecast" on February 19.

Usually, the council doesn't release its numbers until mid-March.

What this means is that legislators, who have to figure out how to bridge a $7 billion (or more) shortfall, will have some much-needed, early information about what our revenue picture looks like.

Hunter probably isn't going to enjoy the February numbers too much, but recognizes how important it is for legislators to hear the news, for better or worse.

“Painting an accurate picture of our state’s economy is the first and most important step in building a budget that allows us to fulfill our promises for things such as quality basic education and public safety. If we don’t have a fairly accurate sense of how much revenue is coming in and where it’s coming from, legislators simply can’t do their job of building a responsible state budget.”