Economic Revenue Forecast Up … Slightly

Washington State’s Economic and Revenue Forecast Council reported their third quarter revenue forecast last week, and revenues are up – very slightly.

According to the Olympian newspaper, “Compared with past forecasts, state government is expected to bring in about $29 million more in the current biennium … that should mean that lawmakers won’t need to come back for a special session to balance the budget.” However, the start of next biennium, beginning in July 2013, may be more problematic. The forecast predicts a $500 million shortfall in that budget, with more needed as a buffer. This upcoming legislative session the legislature is also expected to add around $1 billion in funding to K-12 education after Washington’s Supreme Court found the State has not been upholding its “constitutional duty” to fully-fund the K-12 sector.

State economists also caution that there are several major risks that could hurt growth, such as a slowdown in China, debt in Europe and uncertainty in Congress. “We have a lot of uncertainty,” said Steve Lerch, the new executive director for the forecast council.

The next revenue forecast is due out in November. It is expected the Governor will release her 2013-2105 biennial budget recommendations shortly after that date.