Economist Arun Raha's revenue prediction yesterday, was met without much apparent surprise by the folks on the state forecast council.(“I don't think this has changed a lot from what our internal expectations were for the last couple of weeks,” etc.)
But that has been follwed by a wave of statements, videos, posts and press releases from Senate Democrats trying to highlight how dire the budget situation is:
"I cannot tell you how difficult the budget situation has become, and how awful our choices are becoming," writes Sen. Karen Keiser on her blog. "...Revenues are falling like a rock. One senator said our roof is caving in and we need to save our foundation, so we're trying to find lots of big blue tarps."
"There's no way to sugar coat it. The challenge we face is simply horrendous," said Sen. Rodney Tom.
"The impact of what we're facing is nothing short of devastating...The decisions in front of us are beyond difficult," said Sen. Phil Rockefeller in a press release.
"The magnitude of what we're facing is simply devastating," said Sen. Chris Marr. "There just isn't a way to cut our way out of this without clear-cutting right through our state's core priorities and basic services."
"None of us have ever lived through something like this," said Sen. Fred Jarrett. "I don't think people get how bad it is."
And that may be the problem. If lawmakers are to avoid a backlash from deep cuts -- and win voter support for a tax package to offset deeper cuts -- they have to be sure the public feels the same sort of urgency that the budget-writers do.