Washington's grim financial shape is expected to get worse Thursday when the state's chief economist releases his forecast of revenue coming into state coffers and lawmakers have been bracing for the bad news.
Chief economist Arun Raha has said that conflict in the Middle East and the subsequent hike in oil prices will affect revenue. Lawmakers say that Raha will also have to consider any economic impact to the state from the deadly earthquake and tsunami in Japan. The Asian country is one of the state's biggest trading partners.
Add to the state's woes the moribund economy.
Guesses have ranged widely on how much deeper the estimated $5 billion deficit in the next two-year budget will be after the forecast, but many expect the hole to grow by a few hundreds of millions of dollars - at least.