“These are not normal times,” said Arun Raha, the state’s top economist, in opening up his presentation on the Economic and Revenue Forecast (which you can watch live on TVW). “Fear and uncertainty have overwhelmed” consumer behavior, he said. Political gridlock in the other Washington has lead to uncertainty. And Europe’s economic troubles are affecting our own economy.
He said the probability of a double-dip recession has increased, though it’s too early to say if it will. Because of all these economic factors, Raha said he expects the state to take in $1.4 billion less in the two-year budget cycle than he estimated just last quarter.
“There are still over 6 million fewer jobs nationally than there were at the start of this recession,” he said, illustrating the term “jobless recovery.”
Raha said even though most of those in the audience weren’t surprised by the forecast, it’s still “truly troubling.” He said the best he can hope for is that we don’t slip into another recession.
In the Q&A portion, lawmakers said there may be a need for a brief special session to handle the lack of revenue.