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Eye On Olympia

Budget writers: $423 million less than expected just three months ago…

Washington will have $423 million less than expected in revenue for the current biennium, state revenue forecaster ChangMook Sohn predicted minutes ago. (Sohn, also widely expected to run for state treasurer, also announced that this will be his last forecast.)

As state lawmakers try to hash out a supplemental budget this year, the bad news is likely to have two effects: It will hurt Gov. Chris Gregoire’s chances to get the Legislature to set aside $1 billion in savings. And it will make it harder for people trying to get state money for their projects and people.

That said, there’s significant good news in Sohn’s report. The state’s long-term economic growth prospects remain good, Sohn says, and although the national economy seems to have dipped into a shallow recession in the first two quarters, Washington isn’t expected to see a recession here. One big reason: Software and aircraft sales and employment remain solid, and those and other state exports are helped by the weak dollar.

In fact, Sohn said, Washington seems to have one of the strongest state economies in America right now.

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Richard Roesler covers Washington state news from The Spokesman-Review's bureau in Olympia.

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