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Eye On Olympia

News roundup…

-Speaking in Spokane, the state’s revenue forecaster, Arun Raha, says he expects the recession to end in August or September.

-The Seattle Times’ Joni Balter is skeptical that the solution to Washington state’s revenue woes is an income tax. Look at Oregon, she writes.

-The Washington Policy Center’s Jason Mercier has a prescription for those budget woes.

-Gov. Gregoire tells the Olympian that she’s got big plans for more state-government reforms. Among them:

“We’re looking at consolidating all the natural resource agencies; asking `can it, should it be done?’” she said.

-And Rich Nafziger, with Senate Democrats, has a good news/bad news analysis of the state budget and state economy. The bad news starts out like this:

First of all, we are in one hell of a fiscal mess. The state does not have the dollars to compete in the future. We ended up this year with a record budget deficit that equalled about one-quarter of our maintenance level state budget. We filled the whole with about $4.0 billion in cuts, $3 billion in federal stimulus dollars and another $2 billion in short term fixes. The bottom line, we are likely to be in the same mess in two years as we are in now. Right off the bat, the federal stimulus dollars are unlikely to be there and the $2.5 billion in short term fixes won’t work for four years in a row. In 2011, we are unlikely to find another $2.5 billion in short term fixes. We start off in a $5.5 billion hole. Can we grow out of this. I don’t know.


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

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