“Gov. Chris Gregoire ordered an immediate hiring freeze in state agencies this morning that is designed to save $90 million over the next fiscal year.
Gregoires included a clampdown on out-of-state travel, purchases of equipment and signing of personal service contracts – with exceptions made for emergencies…
The call to freeze was spurred by slowing tax collections.
‘We’ve been watching it closely. The thing that triggered action now was the collection decrease for June that came out in mid-July. We are seeing there is a slowdown in collections,’ Kuper said [Gregoire’s budget spokesman Glenn Kuper]. ‘That was the primary motivation for acting now.’
Under the June forecast, the state was predicted to have $800 million in reserves at the end of the two year budget cycle on June 30, 2009. But Senate budget experts have predicted that a shortfall of $2.7 billion is developing for the 2009-11 cycle leaving a net gap of $2 billion if the $800 million is applied. The $800 million includes money put into a special voter-approved “rainy day” fund,” quoting The Olympian.
The Center on Budget & Policy Priorities reports 29 out of 50 states with budget shortfalls, Washington is not one of them.
THE CITY OF YELM SHOULD BEWARE!
Slower tax collections from lower property values on those being sold, the dried-up real estate market (slow sales reduces tax income) and retail sales tax revenue declines. While Yelm’s retail sales figures are up over last year, that is mostly due to Wal-Mart and a few other businesses opening within the last year and that should be taken into account. Several high-profile businesses in Yelm have also closed. Energy prices have essentially doubled within the year and road construction costs have ballooned.
All of these things should be strongly considered as the City Council approaches the 2009 budget process this Fall!
UPDATED August 11:
* The PEW Center graded WA. with an A for performance in managing public resources.
* Gov. Gregoire’s web page with a link to the Forbes article about WA being the 3rd best state in which to do business.