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Washington quarterly revenue projection down another $122 million

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Nov. 17, 2011

OLYMPIA – The November revenue forecast for Washington state government shows projected General Fund revenue for the 2011–13 biennium down by $122 million, compared to the previous quarterly forecast in September. The figures were released today by the Washington State Economic and Revenue Forecast Council.

“The economic environment is much as we anticipated in the September forecast,” said Dr. Arun Raha, the state’s chief revenue forecaster. “Our November adjustments reflect uncertainty in various markets, but not another downshift in expectations.”

The new forecast reduces total projected General Fund revenue for the biennium to about $30.2 billion. The current two-year budget went into effect July 1.

Over the past six quarterly forecasts — starting in September 2010 — state General Fund revenue projections for the last biennium and the current biennium have declined by nearly $5 billion. And since September 2008 — when global stock markets crashed — state revenue forecasts have declined by more than $7.6 billion.

Last spring, the Legislature and Gov. Chris Gregoire agreed on a 2011–13 budget that included about $4.6 billion in cuts. Under those reductions, the state was initially projected to end the biennium with more than $700 million in reserve. But after three consecutive downward revenue forecasts — including today’s — the state now faces a $1.4 billion shortfall for the current biennium.

Gregoire will propose a supplemental budget Monday to address the shortfall and leave a reserve. She has called a special session of the Legislature to begin Nov. 28.

“Today’s forecast underscores the urgency of our budget situation,” said Marty Brown, director of the state Office of Financial Management. “We have been working hard for months and are ready to go to work with the Legislature to find a balanced solution to our latest shortfall.”

Contact: Ralph Thomas, 360-902-7607