The combined released today of the Governor’s plans to transform the state budget and the Office of Financial Management’s six-year budget outlook make it clear that the state economy will slowly recover. The Governor in her letter to Washingtonians stated, “…we expect budget challenges to be in place for at least the next four years.”
This is evident in the documents provided by the Governor’s Office and the Office of Financial Management. Both show projected budget shortfalls for the 2011-13 biennium ($3.053 billion) and 2013-15 biennium ($8.761 billion).
Both shortfalls are directly related to expected new costs over the next four-years, including replacement of federal funds, medical inflation, pension obligations, K-12 basic education obligations, and funding for voter initiatives I-728 (class size) and I-732 (teacher salaries).
In its release of the six-year budget forecast, the Office of Financial Management notes that the shortfall estimates for 2011-13 and 2013-15 are based on budget obligations in current law and the latest official revenue and caseload forecasts. In addition, they recognize that any solution to the 2011-13 budget gap would reduce the projected gap in later years.