From: Kenney, Rep. Phyllis <Kenney.Phyllis@leg.wa.gov>
Date: Thu, Sep 24, 2009 at 7:43 PM
Subject: Legislative Update from Representative Phyllis Gutierrez Kenney
46th Legislative District · firstname.lastname@example.org
October Assembly Days
State Revenue Outlook
Extension of Unemployment Benefits
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Hope you are enjoying this lovely autumn weather. These are the days
that really remind us how lucky we are to live in such a beautiful
Even though it doesn't seem like the summer has ended, the Legislature
will be in Olympia October 1 and 2 for what are called Committee
Assembly Days. Public hearings and work sessions will be heard on a
large variety of issues as your Representatives continue gearing up
for the 2010 session. A complete listing of committee action can be
State Revenue Outlook
Late last week, the Economic and Revenue Forecast Council adopted a
revised state revenue forecast. This forecast has two components:
the final numbers for the 2007-09 budget, which ended on June 30,
2009, and changes to the 2009-11 budget, which we are now in.
Together, for all four years, the General Fund-State change is a loss
of $237.7 million.
This change in revenue shows that with both the General Fund and the
Budget Stabilization Account, the 2009-11 ending fund balance is in
the red by $184.9 million. Remember, though, that this is a two-year
budget and we are only three months into it, so this is an estimate of
where the state's revenues would be at the end of the 24 month
biennium if no action were taken.
Despite the lower-than-estimated numbers, there was some good news in
the forecast – economists around the country believe we are now at the
end of the recession and easing into economic recovery.
Dr. Arun Raha, the director of the council, made these points:
· It now seems very likely that the recession ended in the
third quarter of 2009.
· The recovery will be slow with consumer spending constrained
and unemployment elevated for some time.
· Washington is expected to outperform the nation in the
recovery, primarily because our state's economy is more trade
intensive than others.
· Revenue collections lag the economic recovery.
If you'd like to see some of the charts used in the presentation, here
is the link: http://www.erfc.wa.gov/pubs/rev20090917color.pdf
Unemployment numbers may continue to grow, but there's some relief on
While most economic indicators are looking better, recovery will be
slow and unemployment numbers will remain high for some time to come.
This is not just true here in Washington, but around the country.
Most businesses will need some time before they get to the stage of
expanding their workforces again.
The first bill we passed during the 2009 Legislative session increased
unemployment benefits for those laid off during the Great Recession.
That, coupled with extended eligibility funded by the federal
government, helped an awful lot of families get by during the last
several months. And not only families benefitted – economists say
that for every $1 paid by Unemployment Insurance, $2.15 is returned to
the local economy. So the corner grocer, the neighborhood barber, the
local hardware store, etc., also were helped by these government
However, because jobs are still so hard to find, many people are
reaching the end of that economic lifeline.
The good news, however, is that the House of Representatives in
Washington DC voted Tuesday to extend benefits for another 13 weeks
for the unemployed living in states with unemployment rates of 8.5
percent or higher. Washington's rate is currently 9.2 percent, so our
struggling workers will qualify.
The Senate is expected to act on the measure within days. You can
read more about these extended benefits here: House votes to extend
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