New state revenue forecast largely unchanged: Up a bit this biennium, down very slightly in the next.

The Economic and Revenue Forecast Council today adopted a new general fund revenue forecast. The bottom line: Up a bit this biennium, down a very little for 2021-2023. Our takeaway: Uncertainty remains elevated, a slowdown is coming, and lawmakers should exercise fiscal restraint in the 2020 legislative session.

Here’s what the ERFC says in the press release:

The Near General Fund-State (Near GF-S) revenue forecast for the 2017-19 biennium is now $46.086 billion, an increase of $27 million and 18.0% more than that of the 2015-17 biennium. The Near GF-S includes the General Fund- State, Education Legacy Trust Account and Washington Opportunity Pathways Account and provides the fullest picture of resources available for budget purposes. Forecasted Near GF-S revenue for 2019-21 biennium has been increased by $447 million to $51.435 billion, and 2021-23 biennium is forecasted at $54.973 billion, a decrease of $63 million.

The meeting handouts provide a wealth of detail. Here’s the final slide:

A quick look at employment:

  • We expect 1.9% Washington employment growth this year, down from 2.2% in the June forecast. As in June, we expect growth to decelerate. We expect employment growth to average 1.2% per year in 2020 through 2023, which is the same rate expected in the June forecast. Our forecast for nominal personal income growth this year is 5.6%, up from 4.9% in the June forecast. Our new forecast for nominal personal income growth in 2020 through 2023 averages 4.8% per year, down slightly from the 4.9% rate expected in the June forecast.

The next forecast will be adopted November 20.