The state Economic and Revenue Forecast Council adopted the third revenue forecast of 2012 yesterday. It is essentially unchanged from the June quarterly forecast. The anticipated revenue collection for the remainder of the 2011-13 biennium is $30.47 billion, up $29 million (about 8%), and for the 2013-15 biennium the forecast is for $32.65 billion in revenue, up $23 million (about 7.2%).
Our state’s revenue outlook is still cloudy considering how Washington’s unemployment rate is on the rise again (see the next story).
The approaches taken by the incoming Legislature and the new governor will dramatically affect Washington’s business climate. If the pre-recession employment level doesn’t come back until “sometime in 2014,” as our state’s chief economist anticipates, it becomes even more critical for state government to live within its means. Raising taxes to enable non-essential spending increases isn’t going to encourage the creation of the long-term, family-wage jobs our state needs.
Serious discussions lie ahead about such things as providing for education and expanding Medicaid access. Legislators will have to address those and other issues during the 2013 session knowing there’s no significant new money around the corner. I’m not going to sugarcoat it…it’s going to be a challenge for sure.