Published October 26, 2020 in Puget Sound Business Journal
The coronavirus is not just a health disaster, but an economic one as well. There are, of course, the steep declines in income and consumption we are experiencing. But in addition, the economic tumble has translated into reduced state revenue and a gaping budget deficit.
Washington State’s budget problem is of course not unique. All other states across the nation are equally challenged, and most are responding by cutting spending and shutting down programs. Yet the case for finding new revenue sources instead has never been stronger. Especially here in Washington.
According to the most recent state forecast, Washington State’s current biennial budget is $2.4 billion below pre-Covid19 projections, an amount equaling about 5 percent of general state revenue. Meeting this shortfall with cuts only would be devastating.