Office of Planning & Budgeting

November 28, 2018

November Revenue Forecast Predicts Slower, But Increasing Growth

The Economic and Revenue Forecast Council (ERFC) released their November revenue forecast. The projected Near General Fund-State (GF-S) revenue forecast for the 2017-19 biennium increased by $163.4 million. Projected revenue collections for the 2019-21 biennium increased by $195.5 million. The report projects higher personal income than the September revenue forecast, but slower growth.

Here is a quick summary of the total projected Near GF-S revenue for each biennium:

  • $45.799 billion for the 2017-19 biennium, 17.3 percent more than the 2015-17 biennium
  • $50.002 billion for the 2019-21 biennium, 9.2 percent more than the 2017-19 biennium
  • $53.795 billion for the 2021-23 biennium, 7.6 percent more than the 2019-21 biennium

Some context behind the numbers:

  • Washington’s unemployment declined to 4.3 percent in October, an all-time low in the series that extends back to 1976.
  • The forecast expects 2.7 percent Washington employment growth this year compared to 2.9 percent in the September forecast. The forecast expects growth to decelerate gradually as the recovery matures and for employment growth to average 1.3 percent per year in 2019 through 2023.
  • The forecast estimates that Washington personal income in the second quarter of 2018 is $10.4 billion (2.4 percent) higher than the September forecast.
  • Cumulative GF-S revenue collections from September 11 through November 10, 2018 were $22 million (0.7 percent) higher than forecasted in September. The slower growth was primarily attributed to Revenue Act taxes, which make up the bulk of GF-S revenue and include sales taxes, business and occupation taxes, and certain tobacco products, coming in $25 million (0.9 percent) lower than forecasted in September.

Governor Jay Inslee will use revenue estimates from this forecast when crafting his proposed 2019-21 biennial budgets, which will be released in December. The Governor’s budget release is the first step in the budget process for the upcoming 2019 legislative session, which begins in January.

Stay tuned to the OPBlog for updates on 2019-21 budget proposals and the legislative session!