“The February 16th revenue forecast is exceptionally good news. It signals a thaw, maybe even an early spring — and certainly we all hope it’s not a false spring. At any rate, this is the first positive forecast we’ve received in a dozen or more reports.
“Revenues are up $46 million for this biennium. We’re certainly not entirely free from the worst clutches of the Great Recession. But this somewhat timid change is more than welcome!
“The increase this biennium is certainly our best financial news since the recession first sunk its teeth into our economy in 2008. Further, any deal in the other Washington to extend payroll-tax cuts and unemployment-insurance benefits will send more disposable income to Washington residents. Such a move at the federal level represents as much as an additional $75 million in revenues for our state budget.
“We’re far better off than most of the rest of the nation and world. While we’re not yet out of the woods, we’ve at least put some distance between ourselves and the worst of the pits.”
The supplemental transportation budget
“Our new transportation budget is about jobs — plain and simple.
“This $9.8 billion investment in state, federal, and other funds through the supplemental transportation plan translates into real jobs. We’re talking about jobs for more than 43,300 real Washington men and women — either jobs created outright or jobs sustained throughout the 2011-2013 biennium.
“I’m particularly encouraged to see that the new budget includes more than $60 million invested in our own extremely important Columbia River Crossing project in Washington’s Clark County. Specifically, the budget features $31 million in federal funds and $30 million in funds from Oregon targeted to our Columbia River Crossing. This critical funding will strengthen our work toward permitting, preliminary engineering, and right-of-way acquisition.”