Yesterday, the Economic Revenue Forecast Council issued the latest revenue forecast for the 2011-13 biennium. The net change in our general fund is an increase of about $96 million, with about $32 million in new revenue due to the economy. The state can also show savings of $340 million from decreased dependence on social services. This puts our budget shortfall around $1.1 billion.
The revenue forecast helps our budget writers in the short term, but the Legislature still needs to think long-term and prioritize our spending. The forecast doesn’t put people back to work and it doesn’t change our spending habits. Now we need to enact policies that will promote job growth and stimulate the economy. While it is appropriate for the Legislature to consider an end to some small tax exemptions that are no longer useful, this is not a time for major tax increases such as the one proposed by the governor.
My caucus unveiled an all-priorities budget today. Ours is the first caucus to introduce a budget proposal this session. We felt it important to write a budget that funds the core services of government without a state sales tax increase, without gimmicks, and without securitization against our future spending. Our budget fully funds basic education, protects public safety, and protects our most vulnerable citizens. Please check out our Fund Education First proposal for more information on our education portion of the budget. I will share more on our budget proposal in following e-mail updates.
I hope you will join me and Rep. Bruce Dammeier for a town hall meeting on Saturday, Feb. 18 (tomorrow). We will be at the Puyallup Public Library, located at 324 South Meridian, from noon to 1:00 p.m. I am looking forward to meeting with neighbors to discuss the budget and many other issues before us.
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