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Dear Friends and Neighbors,
The revenue forecast of March 17 contains bad news: the state's budget shortfall for the next biennium is almost $700 million deeper than originally expected. That means the Legislature must make budget cuts of $5.1 billion in the next few weeks.
With the end-of-session deadline getting closer, it is becoming increasingly unlikely that we'll finish our work on time. We may have one or two special sessions that could draw our work out until May or June.
Among the options that will be discussed to close the budget gap:
· Delaying payments
· Raiding the Capital Budget
· Transferring money from one fund to another
· Imposing new fees
· Increasing taxes
· Closing tax exemptions
· Decreasing spending by reforming social services and streamlining government agencies
The only thing that can really solve this massive budget problem is to decrease spending. It was a spending problem that got us into this trouble, and half-solutions are no longer an option. We must fundamentally restructure and re-prioritize Washington state government. We must minimize cuts to education, public safety, and resources for vulnerable children, the elderly, and individuals with disabilities. As to the remaining needs, we'll need to rely more on each other and less on government.
Please continue to send your input as we work to balance the budget.
468 John L.O'Brien Building | P.O. Box 40600 | Olympia, WA 98504-0600
(360) 786-7968 | Toll-free: (800) 562-6000