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Revenue drop raises talk of special session, tax measures

OLYMPIA, Wash. – The words “special session” and even “taxes” are on the lips of some Washington state lawmakers after the latest revenue forecast.

The quarterly projection released Thursday predicts a $1.4 billion drop in projected tax collections over the next two years. The state’s revenue forecaster Arun Raha says the economic recovery is proving elusive.

“We are in the fragile aftermath of the great recession where a return to normalcy seems like a mirage in the desert. The closer we get to it the further it moves away,” Raha said.

The drop in revenue puts a $1.2 billion hole in the new state budget. The governor’s budget director says this may necessitate a special session this fall. Senate Budget Chair Ed Murray warned it wouldn’t be a two or three day affair.

“This is not a session where you can bring everybody back and ask them to take some pretty significant votes on every aspect of the budget and get out quickly,” Murray said.

Murray advocates sending a tax package to voters next spring. Republicans quickly condemned that idea.

Copyright 2011 Northwest News Network

Since January 2004, Austin Jenkins has been the Olympia-based political reporter for the Northwest News Network. In that position, Austin covers Northwest politics and public policy as well as the Washington State legislature. You can also see Austin on television as host of TVW's (the C–SPAN of Washington State) Emmy-nominated public affairs program "Inside Olympia." Prior to joining the Northwest News Network, Austin worked as a television reporter in Seattle, Portland and Boise. Austin is a graduate of Garfield High School in Seattle and Connecticut College in New London, Connecticut. Austin’s reporting has been recognized with awards from the Association of Capitol Reporters and Editors, Public Radio News Directors Incorporated and the Society of Professional Journalists.