Latest from The Spokesman-Review
OLYMPIA — The Legislature should not dilly-dally with a supplemental state budget that figures out how to reduce expenses through the end of June, State Treasurer James McIntire said Wednesday.
They should pass the revised spending plan by the end of the month "without gimmmicks or delay" to keep the state general fund from running a deficit for the first time in three decades.
In what McIntire himself describes as a strongly worded letter to the heads of the two parties in the two houses and Gov. Chris Gregoire, the state's banker essentially tells legislators not to do what they are want to do, delay tough spending decisions. It could lower the state's bond rating and cost hundreds of millions over the next few years.
"A credit rating downgrade now would take several years to reverse, and would increase interest costs by several hundred million dollars for bond-financed state capital and transportation budgets and for virtually all local K-12 school district bonds, which are guaranteed by the state," he wrote.
OLYMPIA — State Treasurer Jim McIntire added his kudos to the just concluded legislative session with a note that should make all Washingtonians feel a little better.
The state now probably has enough money to pay its bills through June 2011.
Not that the state would be bouncing checks or anything. But earlier in the session, McIntire notified legislators and the governor that the rate that money was coming in was not keeping pace with the way it was going out, and Washington could hit a point in the fall were its reserves were so low it might have to borrow short-term to pay some of its obligations. Like payroll.
“Based on a preliminary assessment of the tax and budget package, we believe we have a sufficient cushion to ensure we have the cash necessary to pay our bills,” McIntire said.
Other states, most notably California, had to issue I.O.U.s at one point because of cash flow problems.