If you think the legislative session has been contentious thus far, just wait until the budget battle kicks off in earnest, a battle that was just made all the more difficult by the latest caseload forecast, which just grew the budget shortfall by another $300 million, largely due to increased demand for Medicaid services
The total shortfall now stands at $1.3 billion, and that's without the court mandated billion-or-so dollar downpayment on the McCleary decision.
Today's forecast only makes the budget writers' already impossible job even more impossibler. There is absolutely no way that lawmakers can simultaneously close a $1.3 billion gap, add a billion or two more onto K-12 education, maintain higher education spending at current levels, and protect our social safety net, all without raising taxes. Which is exactly what a lot of lawmakers have promised to do.
So something has to give, right? Sure. My guess is that legislators will not in fact make that much talked about "downpayment on McCleary." Only a substantial infusion of new revenue could make that downpayment remotely possible, and I don't see the Republican-controlled Senate allowing that to happen.
But hey, this is what you get for putting ideology ahead of pragmatism.