New revenue forecast highlights continued threat to critical public services, need for special legislative session

Sep 23, 2020

OLYMPIA… Six months after most of Washington’s economy was shut down due to COVID-19, the state Economic and Revenue Forecast Council has received 2020’s third-quarter forecast of state-government revenues. Today’s update reduces the deficit projected in the June 2020 forecast but leaves legislators on track to still deal with a $3.9 billion deficit.

Sen. John Braun, R-Centralia, a member of the forecast council and Republican leader on the Senate Ways and Means Committee, offered this statement:

“While the state’s economy is in a better place now than it was during the second quarter, that’s little consolation for the employers who are still stifled by a restart plan that occasionally lurches forward but generally seems to be in a holding pattern. Unfortunately, many businesses can’t afford to wait any longer and are making the difficult decision to close permanently. The Legislature is in a similar position, if we are to protect the services that are critical to our state’s most vulnerable residents. We should be meeting in a special session right now, to reprioritize spending and put the budget on a better course for the nine months left in the biennium. The longer those decisions are put off, the more difficult they become. It’s long past time for anyone to be counting on help from the federal government.

“As if there isn’t enough incentive for a special session already, we could see a lot more pressure on the budget very soon. Besides the significant costs associated with what is already a near-record wildfire situation, there is the possibility that Boeing may announce plans to move all production of its 787 jetliner out of state. Those two factors make it even more imperative to get a special session scheduled so we can get to work while there is still time to do some good.”