OLYMPIA – Senate Majority Leader Andy Billig (D-Spokane) released the statement below following today’s Economic and Revenue Forecast Council meeting:

“Since session concluded in March, we have not stopped our work to ensure all working people, businesses and those disproportionately impacted by both the economic and health impacts of COVID-19 receive the support they need to survive this crisis in the short-term and thrive in the long-term.

“Today’s revenue forecast gives us a better understanding of the size of the economic problem and reaffirms that we have a daunting task ahead. As we continue preparation for an eventual special session and the 2021 regular session, we must take a balanced approach that includes budget savings and the use of resources like the budget stabilization account and, potentially, new revenue.

“Gov. Inslee’s decision today to cancel raises and begin furloughs for many state employees was difficult, but under these circumstances, it was the correct call to make.

“The last economic downturn resulted in deep cuts to education, behavioral health, the environment, our safety net and other critical programs, which ended up costing taxpayers more in the long run. We cannot repeat those mistakes. This problem requires creative, thoughtful decisions that keep our long-term goals of opportunity, prosperity and equity in mind as put all options on the table to deliver a sustained recovery for everyone in Washington state.”