This morning the US Senate approved legislation extending the “enhanced” federal match for Medicaid for another 6 months, starting in January. This is good news for Washington state. The Senate paid for this change with other adjustments in the federal budget, so it doesn’t have an impact on the federal budget deficit, also a good thing. The House has been called back next week and is expected to pass the bill as-is.
The Seattle Times writes about it here: http://seattletimes.nwsource.com/html/localnews/2012535921_senatevote05m.html
We had expected about $480 million from the federal government in this extension. It will deliver about $320 million.
This change keeps the Washington State budget in the black for the time being. The budget and policy act does not allow the governor to do acros-the-board cuts unless there is an official predication of a cash flow problem, so she is unlikely to make any immediate cuts in this situation. We are not yet out of the woods and are watching the current tax collections carefully.
I expect you’ll hear more about this as we move through the fall. The economy is quite unsettled and very difficult to predict at this time. I’m spending more of my time on this than I would like.