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Chandler remains cautious in addressing new economic forecast

OLYMPIA - The Washington State Economic and Revenue Forecast Council issued a new economic outlook for the state last Friday, showing signs of economic stabilization.

Dr. Arun Raha, the state's chief economist, predicted the state's revenue sources will slightly increase and the number of jobs is expected to grow in the next three months.

Raha estimates the state's revenue will increase $31.5 million from economic changes. The total state revenues are expected to be $28.7 billion for the 2009-2011 budget cycle. The 2011-2013 budget is expected to have $32.2 billion in revenues, up 12 percent from the current budget.

"I'm encouraged by the signs of stabilization in our state's economy," said Rep. Bruce Chandler, R-Granger. "Our economy is still fragile, and we need to focus on the challenge of being one of the leading economies in the western United States. What we do in the next few weeks in Olympia will really affect the length of time it takes to recover from this recession."

A new proposal introduced last Thursday would increase the retail sales tax by 1 percent. The non-partisan Washington Research Council estimates this tax increase would eliminate 14,759 jobs in Washington state.

"Increasing taxes will not only hurt working families struggling to make ends meet, it will reduce job opportunities as employers try to keep their doors open," Chandler said. "We have a long way to go in making lasting changes to how our government services are delivered and how we are attracting new jobs in this state."

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