Office of Planning & Budgeting

August 14, 2019

June Revenue Forecast Growth Driven by Legislative Activity

The Economic and Revenue Forecast Council (ERFC) released their June revenue forecast. The projected Near General Fund-State (GF-S) revenue forecast for the 2017-19 biennium decreased by $47 million. Projected revenue collections for the 2019-21 biennium increased by $432 million. This change was primarily driven by legislative activity in the 2019 session. The report projects similar growth to the March revenue forecast.

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

  • $46.059 billion for the 2017-19 biennium, 17.9 percent more than the 2015-17 biennium
  • $50.988 billion for the 2019-21 biennium, 10.7 percent more than the 2017-19 biennium
  • $55.036 billion for the 2021-23 biennium, 7.9 percent more than the 2019-21 biennium

Some context behind the numbers:

  • Revenue has been coming in close to the March 2019 forecast. Cumulative major GF-S revenue collections from March 11 through June 10, 2019 were only 0.5 percent ($30 million) higher than expected.
  • Washington’s unemployment rate remained at 4.7 percent in May after increasing in March and April. The reason for the increase in recent months is that although employment has continued to grow, the labor force has grown faster.
  • Legislative changes accounted for significant adjustments to the previous forecast. This included:
    • An $85 million transfer of property tax into the Education Legacy Trust Account (ELTA), which decreased the forecasted GF-S revenue for the 2017-19 biennium by $87 million. The legislated transfer of additional real estate excise taxes (REET) revenue from new graduated rates plus other small changes added $220 million to forecasted ELTA revenue in the 2019-21 biennium and $327 million in the 2021-23 biennium.
    • An increase in REET receipts due to the adoption of graduated tax rates. The total increase in GF-S revenue from legislative and budget-driven changes is $109 million in the 2019-21 biennium and $282 million in the 2021-23 biennium.
  • Absent these legislative changes, forecasted revenue for the 2019-21 and 2021- 23 biennia would have increased slightly due to positive changes in the economic forecast. Most of the increases stemmed from Revenue Act taxes and REET. These economic changes increased forecasted revenue by $86 million in the 2019-21 biennium and $64 million in the 2021-23 biennium.

Stay tuned to the OPBlog for updates on revenue forecasts!