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Dispatches from public radio's correspondent at the Washington Legislature. Austin Jenkins is the Olympia correspondent for the Northwest News Network. You can also see Austin on television as host of TVW's (the C–SPAN of Washington State) weekly public affairs program "Inside Olympia."

Washington Budget Shortfall May Get Worse With Revenue Forecast

OLYMPIA, Wash. – Washington’s nearly $1 billion shortfall could grow after Wednesday’s revenue forecast. The state already faces higher than expected Medicaid costs. It’s widely expected the March forecast will show revenues coming in lower than expected. The governor and legislative budget writers have been waiting to see what the forecast brings before they roll out their spending proposals.

If the news is bad it’s going to make their job of balancing the budget all that much harder, especially when you factor in the Supreme Court ruling from last year that says the state is underfunding public education. The down payment for that for this next two year budget is somewhere in the $1 billion to $1.4 billion range.

Washington Governor Jay Inslee has said he will propose to eliminate some tax exemptions to help pay for schools. Lawmakers and the Governor have until April 24th to agree on a spending plan that balances the budget and pumps more money into education. If they fail to agree, they could go into special session.

On the Web:

Washington Economic and Revenue Forecast - State of Washington

Since January 2004, Austin Jenkins has been the Olympia-based political reporter for the Northwest News Network. In that position, Austin covers Northwest politics and public policy, as well as the Washington State Legislature. You can also see Austin on television as host of TVW's (the C–SPAN of Washington State) Emmy-nominated public affairs program "Inside Olympia."