Revenue Forecast Shows Substantial Increase in State Tax Collections

New numbers have been released for expected revenue coming in to the state of Washington and the news is good. Washington House Republicans’ John Sattgast reports from the state Capitol.

SATTGAST: The State’s Economic and Revenue Forecast Council says Washington will receive an additional $307 million dollars in the current two-year budget cycle that ends June 30th.  And in the next budget cycle, revenues could grow by more than $553 million dollars.

Current spending stands at more than $44 billion dollars. Budget writers are expected to have nearly $51 billion dollars for the next two-year budget that begins July 1st.

Chief Economist Steve Lerch cautioned, however, this economic uptick may not last. Lerch said there are signs the economy may be slowing, with a possible recession by 2020.

“Over the next six to nine months, things may be starting to slow down. So you can see it kind of dip, came back, has dipped again. So that is, I think, consistent with our forecast of slower growth as we move forward.””

Despite billions in additional tax collections, the Democratic House Appropriations Committee chair said his caucus would pursue tax increases to fund their operating budget proposal that will be released on Monday.

But Council Chair Representative Ed Orcutt, who serves as House Republican member on the Forecast and Revenue Council, said tax increases would have a chilling effect on the state’s economy.

ORCUTT: “I don’t know when you ever see that kind of growth. And if we can’t balance within that without adding taxes, we’re going to have some serious problems down the road. So I think we absolutely need to balance this budget within existing revenues.”

SATTGAST: Budget writers in the Legislature have been waiting for these latest figures to begin finalizing state spending proposals for the new operating budget. Lawmakers have only 39 days to pass the budget before the scheduled end of the 105-day session on April 28th. John Sattgast, Olympia