Legislator asking for input on state budget cuts
By CELESTE GRACEY
Sammamish Reporter Reporter
March 24, 2011 · 11:07 AM
Washington state is in even deeper water.
The most recent revenue forecast added $700 million to the budget shortfall for the next biennium, raising the total expected loss to $5.1 billion.
“The size of the shortfall means we cannot trim our way out — real cuts must be made. Those impacts will be felt,” said Gov. Chris Gregoire in a speech.
The March forecast is the last one released before lawmakers begin making decisions on what to cut and what to spare.
Rep. Glenn Anderson, R-North Bend, put together an online survey to gauge what priorities his constituents, who include Issaquah and Sammamish, care about.
“I want to hear your thoughts on how we address the current budget shortfall and your priorities,” he said in a statement.
He also expressed fears of an all-cuts budget at a town hall meeting earlier this month.
“Budget writers need to set priorities, the first of which should be our constitutional mandate to educate our children,” Anderson said in a statement.
In December Gregoire proposed education cuts, about $3.2 million from the Issaquah School District, over the next two years.
Frightening for districts at the time, her proposals now look optimistic.
In past, American recessions have been short-term with rapid recovery, but this recession was different, Gregoire said in her speech.
While the recession officially ended in June 2009, it had much deeper impacts than those of the past.
She attributed the change in the revenue forecast to increased oil prices and the tragedy in Japan.
“We cannot wait for better numbers. In 2009, we hoped things would turn. In 2010, we hoped things would turn. Now in 2011 we hoped they would turn. They haven’t,” Gregoire said. “Recovery is taking place, but it is fragile.”
Legislators are expected to debate a slew of budget proposals until the end of the legislative session, April 24. Last year the lawmakers didn’t complete the budget on time, extending if by a few weeks.Contact Sammamish Reporter Reporter Celeste Gracey at firstname.lastname@example.org.