Read a Pacific Northwest, liberal perspective on world, national, and local politics. From majestic Redmond, Washington - the Northwest Progressive Institute Advocate.

Friday, November 14, 2008

Gregoire is looking for ways to trim state's budget

You're not the only one scrutinizing your budget this fall. Governor Gregoire's weighty task is to shrink Washington's projected $3.2 billion budget deficit while still meeting the diverse needs of our state. The good news is that she has already taken steps to cut costs, whittling the deficit down to about half its original amount. Unfortunately, a new revenue forecast is scheduled for next week, and if it follows recent trends the news is bound to be worse than expected, causing the expected deficit to increase.

Here's a timeline for the 2009-2011 state budget:
November 19, 2008
Revenue Forecast Council issues its revenue forecast for the next two-year budget cycle. This is the number that will be used by Gov. Gregoire to finalize her budget proposal.

Week of December 15, 2008
Gov. Gregoire releases her 2009-11 budget proposal.

January 12, 2009
Washington State Legislature convenes. The Legislature will act on the Governor’s budget proposal and members will provide their own proposals during the legislative session.
If you have any advice for the guv, send it her way. Gregoire's budget team would like to know:
  • What government programs should we sacrifice to ensure that we can continue to provide the essentials to the people of our state?
  • What ways can we reform state government to provide services more efficiently and cost-effectively?
  • What government functions and programs might be better handled in the private sector or the nonprofit arena?
Gregoire's final budget will focus on the basics of government, and the state's economy and job creation will likely be top priorities this legislative session. Of course economic needs are real and pressing, but progressive concerns like cleaning up Puget Sound and improving our public school system can't fall by the wayside when making budget priorities.

We will eventually climb out of this deficit hole and when we do, we don't want to find out that our problems have grown while our focus was elsewhere.


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