The Economic and Revenue Forecast Council has released a new forecast showing a slight improvement in projected revenues to support the state budget. (Press release, meeting materials) From the press release:
The General Fund-State (GF-S) revenue forecast has been increased by $13 million for the 2013-15 biennium and by $333 million for the 2015-17 biennium.
As the Washington Research Council writes, this is largely old news.
…the $332.9 million gain is more than accounted for by above-forecast collections reported in July, August and September ($165.9 million) and by actions taken by the Legislature as part of the budget enacted in June ($193.4 million). This is all old news at this point. The new news is a small reduction of $26.4 million to the forecast of GF–S collections over the remaining 22 months of the 2015–17 biennium.
The forecast by the Economic and Revenue Forecast Council released Monday shows that while revenue collections for the current two-year state budget increased by $363 million, more than half that amount was due to actions the Legislature took earlier this year and was already booked in the current budget. Those actions included closing several tax exemptions and making changes to the state’s legalized marijuana market.
So, not a big nor an unanticipated bump, but still good news. In normal times, we don’t expect big changes in quarterly projections. But the ERFC does acknowledge that these may not be entirely stable times for the economy. The analysts assign a 30 percent risk to the “pessimistic forecast,” noting
Factors outside the state account for the high level of risk to the forecast, as noted by the increased percentage in the pessimistic forecast. A slowing Chinese economy, the negative impact of a stronger dollar on exports, and the volatility in stock markets all remain major threats to the U.S. and Washington economies.
The next forecast will be released November 18.