State sheltering requirements and store closures as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic have resulted in a state fund shortage estimated at $7 billion through 2023.
A record number of applicants, more than 1 million people statewide, have also filed for unemployment benefits at unprecedented levels for Washington State.
After recently publishing stories outlining the scope of the state’s financial crisis, the Times editorial board urged Governor Inslee to convene a special session of the state Legislature to address the funding problem. The store closures have a direct effect on state sales tax revenues due to the state.
There now is little doubt that Inslee will call a special session, probably sometime this year following the mid-June state revenue update report.
Washington Retail expects large state spending cuts and new taxes to result to address the revenue shortfall. The 2020 state operating and capital budgets amount to $57.9 billion.
State savings presently are about $800 million, most if not all of which would need to be used to help rebalance state spending plans for the next several years