The latest state revenue forecast released yesterday paints a pretty dire picture. Subsequent cuts will be unprecedented-disastrous-painful. Pick your adjective. Like most other states, Washington is suffering from a dramatic loss in state revenue. Before yesterday our deficit was projected to be $3.2 billion dollars – now we are looking at a $5.1 billion gap over the next two years.
The Washington State Budget and Policy Center released a very handy tool to help everyone understand the deficit we are facing and how the Rainy Day Fund fits in. Click here to check it out. It should be noted that we are currently living under Initiative 960 and all tax increases (or transfers for that matter) currently require a two thirds supermajority vote both the House and Senate.
If you haven’t heard enough bad news, you are in luck. I have more. The individuals on the Priorities of Government (POG) guidance team finalized their 2009 POG Report. These Result Teams of agency, OFM and other executive staff were charged with making choices based solely on the activity performance and alignment with evidenced-based strategies for achieving each of the ten statewide results. They assumed no new money while completing the exercise and had to separate programs into four categories: high, low, buy next, and do not buy. While it does not represent any final budget decisions, the report does advise the Governor as she finalizes her 2009-11 budget (due out Dec. 20th).
Early learning programs can be found in the Student Achievement section and Vulnerable Children and Adults. K-12 programs are in the Student Achievement section. Postsecondary programs are in the Postsecondary Learning section.
Early learning and postsecondary programs face dramatic (and I mean dra-mat-ic) cuts. K-12 programs also face significant cuts, however many K-12 programs are protected by the Washington State Constitution and basic education.
Stay tuned as we continue to unravel the budget and what it means for our kids.