“Gov. Chris Gregoire today [Oct. 7] announced actions that will save $330 million in the current budget, increasing the budget surplus for the biennium that ends June 30, 2009, to more than $850 million.
In response to a slowing national economy, Gregoire directed the state Office of Financial Management in September to find more savings to add to the $90 million being saved through freezes announced in August on hiring, out-of-state travel, personal service contracts and equipment purchases. Gregoire originally asked OFM for savings of $200 million, but because the national economic turmoil shows no sign of dissipating, the governor felt it prudent to expand those savings to $240 million. These actions will save the state $330 million in the current budget.
In addition to the savings in the current budget, the governors actions will save an additional $605 million in the 200911 budget. Together with the states current $850 million surplus, these steps will almost halve what is projected to be an approximate $3.2 billion shortfall in 2011.
‘As a result of the continued slowing of the national economy, I am taking additional action to reduce spending now,’ Gregoire said. ‘These savings, when combined with fiscally responsible initiatives such as the Rainy Day Fund and adjustments to spending over the past few months, leave us with more money in the bank today and cut the projected 2011 shortfall nearly in half.’…
The governor noted that unlike the 30 states that have deficits, Washington state now has a budget surplus,” quoting the Governor’s Press Release.