Wash. forecasters issue dire warning on economy

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OLYMPIA, Wash. (AP) — Washington’s economic forecasters are no longer optimistic about the near-term future of the state’s economy.

The Economic and Revenue Forecast Council issued a dire warning Thursday, saying that the risk of the national economy slipping back into recession has increased significantly in recent days.

The state’s chief economist, Arun Raha, said the state’s economy is struggling against headwinds caused by debt battles in the United States and Europe. He had been projecting accelerating growth in the second half of this year.

State tax collections are already 1.3 percent below a forecast issued in June, and Raha expects that gap to widen in the coming months. Gov. Chris Gregoire has asked state agencies to prepare for the possibility of more budget cuts.