Friday, February 20, 2009

Speaker Chopp's statement on latest revenue news

Late yesterday, the state’s chief economist, Arun Raha, delivered the expected bad news that our state shortfall is growing (up from $6 billion to about $8 billion). You can read news clips about Raha’s report here, here and here.

Here’s the statement released by Speaker Frank Chopp concerning the state’s early revenue forecast numbers:
“Today’s revenue forecast is not unexpected. The recession affecting the rest of the world is hitting Washington, too. However, as planned we have already taken steps to minimize the shortfall in the current biennium. The Early Action Savings and Belt-tightening measures signed this week by the Governor reduced that hole by $719 million. We will address the remaining short-term deficit very soon in the supplemental budget while we consider all the options available to meet the challenge.

In addition to the actions we’ve already taken, help is coming to Washington through the American Economic Recovery and Reinvestment Act. This federal package will send billions of dollars to our state to save or create thousands of jobs, improve our roads and bridges, and help with additional needs in critical areas like education.

But this recovery package will not solve all of our budget challenges. Only a portion of it can be used to address the shortfall – much of it is directed to specific purposes not included in our operating budget.

As we take the next steps on the budgets, we can’t let tough times become an excuse for sacrificing the things that matter most to our families – education for our children, access to health care, and protections for those who can’t take care of themselves.”