Washington revenue forecast increases nearly $800 million through 2019-2021 budget cycle

The Economic and Revenue Forecast Council today increased its official forecast for the current and next biennium by a total of $791 million. 

The Near General Fund-State (Near GF-S) revenue forecast for the 2017-19 biennium has increased by $348 million, and revenue for the 2019-21 biennium has increased by $443 million. 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.

After a series of monthly revenue collections reports showing the money coming in above the June forecast, the increase was widely expected. Today’s full ERFC report, which includes a lot of good economic information, in available here. The key takeaway is that the national and state economy remain on a solid growth path.

From the press release:

Nationally, consumer confidence continues to strengthen with respondents reporting favorable perceptions of job prospects and economic growth. Major threats to the U.S. and Washington economies remain, including international trade concerns, geopolitical risks and a maturing economic expansion.

We expect Washington employment to grow 2.9% this year compared to 2.5% in the June forecast. We expect employment growth to average 1.2% per year in 2019 through 2023, which is slightly stronger than the 1.1% per year expected in the June forecast. Our forecast for nominal personal income growth this year is 6.6%, up from 5.8% in the June forecast.

The state’s top budget writer says in a press release:

“It’s encouraging to see our state economy growing steadily,” said David Schumacher, Office of Financial Management director. “But, as I noted when we saw a similar uptick in the last revenue forecast, we will face significant challenges in meeting all our obligations in the next biennial budget.”

No forecast is without risk, and we share in the concern over international trade. 

Still: Good news.