OLYMPIA— Today’s revenue forecast reinforces the vulnerability of our state’s economic recovery and underscores the need for fundamental changes to the way our state provides services to our citizens. It calls for pragmatic budget solutions with realistic alternatives, according to Don Brunell, president of the Association of Washington Business. AWB is the state’s chamber of commerce and represents more than 7,350 employers statewide.
Washington state’s chief economist, Arun Raha, today predicted the state will collect $778 million less in revenue over the next 27 months. As a result, state lawmakers now must backfill a $5.3 billion hole in the current and 2011-13 budgets before the end of the legislative session.
“What this really tells us is how fragile our recovery is right now, and that we can’t make budget decisions that could potentially hurt our long-term recovery efforts,” said Brunell. “Lawmakers are in a very difficult position, and we all appreciate the difficulty of the decisions they’ll need to make.
“This also might not be the last of the bad news. The tragedy in Japan may have serious consequences for our own economy, since Japan is a major trading partner for our state. Gas prices continue to climb, and construction, the industry that traditionally is the first to lead us into a recovery, remains stagnant.
“The point is, we’ve run out of options. The budget is not getting better and we need to get realistic about the kind of reforms that will get us back on track and produce sustainable results. We can’t do this every two years,” added Brunell. “This is a tough time for our state, our economy and for all of us. Change is never easy, but lawmakers and Gov. Gregoire have fewer options now with the tax collections dropping like they are.”
About the Association of Washington Business
Formed in 1904, the Association of Washington Business is Washington’s oldest and largest statewide business association, and includes more than 7,350+ members representing 650,000 employees. AWB serves as both the state’s chamber of commerce and the manufacturing and technology association. While its membership includes major employers like Boeing, Microsoft and Weyerhaeuser, 90 percent of AWB members employ fewer than 100 people. More than half of AWB’s members employ fewer than 10. For more about AWB, visit www.awb.org.