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“Treasurer warns state will go broke if lawmakers don’t act”

“Washington state government is in danger of running out of money if the Legislature fails to act quickly, state Treasurer Jim McIntire says.

“With no improvement in the state’s overall cash position, the entire state treasury could be depleted as soon as September 2010,” McIntire said in a letter sent to the governor and legislative leaders last month.

Simply put, the state is spending more money than it’s taking in through tax collections because of the recession. “If they [lawmakers] don’t act, we could be in some real trouble,” McIntire said in an interview this week.

Democratic Gov. Chris Gregoire on Wednesday said McIntire’s concerns are “based on the understanding that nothing happens this legislative session.” The governor said the budget she’s proposing would take care of the problem.

McIntire, a Democrat, said he’s confident lawmakers will act in time to cut costs and possibly raise revenue through taxes to avoid running out of money. He just wants to make sure people understand the severity of the problem…

The Legislature, which starts its session Monday, has to close a projected $2.6 billion shortfall in the current two-year budget, which runs through June 2011.

The state treasury probably needs a $500 million infusion by September to “avoid entering into that zone where we run out of money,” McIntire said.

McIntire said that, as far as he knows, the state never has faced a situation like this,” quoting the Seattle Times.

Posted by Steve on January 7, 2010 at 7:03 am | Permalink

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