It’s the 72nd day of this year’s 105-day legislative session and there’s much to report.

Last week the state’s Economic and Revenue Forecast Council issued a new quarterly report that stretched the state’s multi-billion dollar budget gap even wider.  For the remainder of the current two-year budget cycle, which ends June 30, the report reduced expected revenues by $80 million.  For the new two-year budget cycle that begins July 1, the report reduced anticipated tax collections by $698 million.

It should be noted that it could have been even worse.  Prognosticators on the Capitol campus feared reductions that would have exceeded $1 billion.

That said, what we witnessed constitutes a significant reduction.

A final, third supplemental 2009/11 budget is expected but it seems unlikely to be released before the release of the 2011/13 biennial budget.

And on that front, leaders in the House of Representatives previously planned on releasing their budget proposal as soon as today.  But those plans appear to have been put on hold for at least a week or more following the release of the forecast.  So stay tuned.

In other news, Friday is the next cutoff for all bills to be moved out of their policy committees.  Senate bills are being heard in House committees and House bills are being heard in Senate committees.  Among the bills we’re working to make sure they clear this hurdle is Senate Bill 5636 concerning the University Center of North Puget Sound and Senate Bill 5519, which would give colleges and universities a bit more freedom when it comes to purchasing.