New state revenue forecast: Up slightly, with slower growth projected.

The November revenue forecast continues the trend the Economic and Revenue Forecast Council has been signaling for the last year or more: Washington’s economy remains relatively strong compared to the rest of the nation, but the gap is narrowing and our growth is slowing. The press release sums it up nicely:

The Near General Fund-State (Near GF-S) revenue forecast for the 2019-21 biennium is now $51.733 billion, an increase of $299 million and 12.3% more than that of the 2017-19 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 2021-23 biennium has been increased by $181 million to $55.154 billion…

The level of uncertainty in the baseline remains elevated, with downside risks outweighing upside risks.

Washington’s economy is continuing to outperform the nation but not as dramatically as in the past.

No real surprises in any of that. The full presentation, as always, contains a lot of good information. A couple of slides from the presentation. 

Collection experience remains highly positive:

The state is projected to continue an impressive run of revenue growth.

And, our paraphrase of the conclusion: Don’t take it for granted.

The ERFC also released a new budget outlook. The state is projected to end the 2019-2021 biennium with total reserves of nearly $3 billion, with $2.2 billion of that in the Budget Stabilization Account.