Gov. Chris Gregoire gave the following statement in response to today's revenue forecast:
"To respond to these difficult economic times, state government has stepped up to the challenge. We've reduced staff, cut salaries, eliminated entire programs, adopted some of the biggest government reforms in a century and slashed our budget. We have addressed issues relating to our business climate such as workers' compensation and unemployment insurance. We are implementing pension reform. In the past three years we've cut more than $10 billion. Including today's revenue forecast, each of the past five forecasts has reduced our budget, and in each case we've responded quickly and appropriately with the tools at hand and with no tax increases. The November forecast may bring more bad news so we can't wait until the start of session in January to take action. Today's forecast demands that we again take action.
"At the first sign of more uncertainty last month, I asked state agencies to prepare for additional cutbacks of 5 and 10 percent. While we expect those recommendations next week, with today's news it is clear that this situation will require that we implement most of those reductions. The level of cuts will impact the educational future of our children, compromise public safety and put the most vulnerable at risk. These impacts will be felt in communities across the state.
"I have been meeting with legislative leadership during the past two weeks and have made it clear to those members that we must have all options on the table, and we must continue to work together in these unprecedented times. We need to do more to get our people back to work and build consumer confidence in our future.
"This crisis, started by Wall Street, was not the doing of the people or government of Washington state. However, fixing it falls on our shoulders. We were just emerging from the recession when Congress failed to reach a debt deal in a timely way and the European economic crisis shook consumer confidence. While we will continue to build the way for a long-term Washington state recovery, members of Congress must quickly take action to create jobs and deal with the nation's economic crisis."