OLYMPIA -- Today is F-Day in Olympia, as in Forecast Day.
Arun Raha, the state's chief economist, will issue his forecast of the amount of revenue the state can expect to collect in the 2011-13 biennium, which will guide budget writers in the Legislature for however long it takes for them to write the General Operating Budget.
Until noon, the state budget is projected to have a $4.6 billion gap between what the state can expect to bring in with taxes, fees and other sources of revenue, and the cost of all the programs, services and salaries it currently has on the books.
The forecast released at noon is expected to widen that gap, and the real question is, by how much? The low side is about $500 million; the high side is $2 billion.
Gov. Chris Gregoire has a press conference scheduled for 2 p.m. to talk about the new numbers.
But that's not all, as they say in the Ronco commercials.
The Poker Players Alliance, who are fans of online poker are in Olympia lobbying their favorite legislators to change the law to make the online version of their favorite card game poker legal in Washington. They'll shuffling up and dealing with legislators at a closed door reception later in the evening.
The Washington Association of Churches and other faith-based groups from throughout the Puget Sound are mounting an InterFaith Advocacy Day to lobby for their favorite programs, and will be able to join the Protect our Future Revenue Forecast Rally on the north steps of the Capitol about the time the forecast is being announced. The Backbone Campaign has a "Prioritize People" vigil across the lawn on the Temple of Justice steps. The state's newspaper publishers are also in town. It's Massage Awareness Day with massage therapists in the Capitol Mezzanine. Many of the staff are wearing green for St. Patrick's Day, although some members of the SEIU who are doing some lobbying will be dressed in a different shade for Purple Presence Day.