Office of Planning & Budgeting

September 26, 2019

September Revenue Forecast Indicates Slowing, but Continued Growth

The Economic and Revenue Forecast Council (ERFC) released their September revenue forecast. The projected Near General Fund-State (GF-S) revenue forecast for the 2017-19 biennium increased by $27 million. Projected revenue collections for the 2019-21 biennium increased by $447 million, decreased by $63 million for the 2021-23 biennium. The report projects similar growth to the June revenue forecast.

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

  • $46.086 billion for the 2017-19 biennium, 18.0 percent more than the 2015-17 biennium
  • $51.435 billion for the 2019-21 biennium, 11.6 percent more than the 2017-19 biennium
  • $54.973 billion for the 2021-23 biennium, 6.9 percent more than the 2019-21 biennium

Some context behind the numbers:

Washington state:

  • The June forecast included an $85 million transfer of property tax from the GF-S into the Education Legacy Trust Account (ELTA) in Fiscal Year (FY) 2019. While some of this transfer did occur in June 2019, $84 million of the transfer occurred in July 2019, the first month of FY20. This increased the preliminary cash estimate of GF-S revenue for the 2017-19 biennium by $84 million above the June forecast and decreased the forecast for the 2019-21 biennium by the same amount.
  • The preliminary estimate of GF-S revenue for the 2017-19 biennium, which ended June 30, 2019, is $44.144 billion, which is $102 million higher than forecasted in June. Absent the abovementioned delayed transfer, however, collections would have been $18 million higher than forecasted.
  • While the September economic forecast was very similar to the June forecast, expected Revenue Act collections have increased in the current 2019-21 biennium due to their recent strength. Expected slower growth in the 2021-23 biennium, however, has slightly reduced expected Revenue Act collections in that period.
  • Washington’s unemployment rate remained at 4.6 percent in August for a fourth consecutive month. The state’s unemployment rate remains near its all-time low of 4.4 percent last reached in October 2018.
  • Washington personal income rose to $471.5 billion in the first quarter from $466.6 billion in the fourth quarter of 2018. The reported 4.3 percent growth rate in Washington personal income was the 15th largest among the states and District of Columbia and exceeded the 3.4 percent growth rate for the U.S. as a whole.


  • Seattle area home prices increased in July but were down over the year. According to the S&P/Case-Shiller Home Price Indices, seasonally adjusted Seattle area home prices increased 0.5 percent from June to July. Monthly Seattle home prices have, on average, been trending down since June 2018. As of July 2019, Seattle home prices were down 0.7 percent over the year.
  • Seattle area consumer price inflation continued to outpace the national average in August. From August 2018 to August 2019, the Seattle CPI rose 3.2 percent compared to the 1.8 percent increase in the U.S. City Average.

The Governor will use the November forecast revenue estimates when crafting his proposed 2020 supplemental operating budget, which will amend the enacted 2019-21 biennial budget.

Stay tuned to the OPBlog for updates on revenue forecasts and the upcoming 2020 legislative session!