Below is a statement from House Appropriations Chair Rep. Timm Ormsby (D-Spokane) in response to the June 17 Revenue Forecast:
“Today’s forecast has confirmed what we’ve all expected: COVID-19 has significantly impacted the economic activity in Washington, jeopardizing the state’s ability to provide necessary services to people who need them the most. This isn’t theoretical. When the financial crisis hit us in 2009, the state began to cut and make savings wherever it could, resulting in a reduction in the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families program, higher education tuition increases, and less child care support for struggling families.
“People in our state are really hurting. When we talk about the economy, it sounds like a machine, but it’s all of us, going to work, paying our bills, buying a meal at a restaurant occasionally. That’s what an economy is, but with COVID-19 putting so many people out of work and limiting purchases in a state so reliant on sales tax, we are facing difficult questions about how to close the gap in the state budget. That is why federal funds to back fill lost revenue are absolutely imperative for the Legislature to maintain critical services and meet the needs of the families in our state who need our help.
“Since the Great Recession, the Legislature has worked hard to restore investments in assistance programs for our most vulnerable, to fully fund education, and to address the state’s behavioral health crisis. Those investments lifted families up out of dire circumstances and reduced barriers that hold people back. That’s all at risk due to COVID-19.
“As soon as there is an agreement between the House and Senate on a plan to move forward, I am ready to come back to Olympia for a special session to find a balanced approach that offers solutions for a sustainable and equitable recovery. That will require tough decisions on what we fund in the budget, use of the state’s ‘rainy day fund,’ and will include revenue discussions.”