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State quarterly revenue projection increases by $231 million

OLYMPIA – The June revenue forecast for Washington state government shows projected General Fund revenue increasing by $231 million compared to the previous forecast in March. The figures for the remainder of the current biennium and the next biennium were released June 18 by the Washington State Economic and Revenue Forecast Council.

The council increased its revenue forecast by nearly $121 million for the next biennium (2013–15) and by about $110 million for the current biennium (2011–13).

“Washington’s economy continues to improve, but at a slow pace,” said Steve Lerch, the council’s executive director. “Slightly stronger than expected housing activity has resulted in modest increases in the revenue forecast for both the 2011–13 and 2013–15 biennia.”

General Fund collections are projected to total $32.6 billion for the next two-year budget cycle, which begins July 1, and ends June 30, 2015.

Even with the increased revenue projection, the state faces about a $1 billion shortfall between the cost of all current obligations and revenue anticipated in the next biennium. However, that shortfall does not take into account significant investments the state must make to begin addressing a court order to fully fund basic education as required by the state constitution.

“It is encouraging that our economy and state revenue collections continue to move in a positive direction,” said David Schumacher, director of the Office of Financial Management. “Increased revenue in the forecast may help with the Legislature’s ongoing budget negotiations. But we still have work to do to reach a final agreement on a fiscally sound budget.

“It’s also important to acknowledge that today’s relatively positive news does not solve the long-term challenge we face to adequately fund education. The Supreme Court ruling reaches far beyond what can be answered with this short-term good news.”

The Legislature, which is in its second special session of the year, must approve a budget by June 30 to prevent a shutdown of many state government services.

The next revenue forecast is scheduled for release Sept. 18.

 

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