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Originally published Saturday, April 20, 2013 at 4:55 PM

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Editorial: Legislature should get the revenue forecast sooner

The Legislature should move up the date of the spring-revenue forecast to Feb. 20 in all years in order to speed up budget negotiations.

Seattle Times Editorial

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EVERY two years in the month of March, budget writers in the Legislature twiddle their thumbs waiting for the official state-revenue forecast. Once it’s out, they scramble to get the budget done in the rest of the 105 days, often missing the mark. The result is an expensive special session.

Some of these special sessions could be avoided by passing Senate Bill 5910. This moves up the revenue forecast during 105-day sessions by one month, to Feb. 20, which is the date now used during off-year 60-day sessions.

With the change, “We can get to finalize a budget a month sooner and have more time to work on the negotiations,” said the lead sponsor, Sen. Andy Hill, R-Redmond, chairman of the Senate Ways and Means Committee.

The bill co-sponsors are four other members of the committee, Sens. Ed Murray, D-Seattle; Sharon Nelson, D-Maury Island; Michael Baumgartner, R-Spokane; and Jim Hargrove, D-Hoquiam.

The bill won’t make any difference until 2015. Still, the change makes sense. The Legislature should get it done while leaders are thinking about it.

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