Office of Planning & Budgeting

November 22, 2019

November Revenue Forecast Shows Increased Revenue, but Slowing Growth

The Economic and Revenue Forecast Council (ERFC) released their November revenue forecast on November 20. The final tabulation of Near General Fund-State (GF-S) revenue for the 2017-19 biennium was $46.081 billion, $5 million less than estimated in September. Projected revenue collections increased by $299 million for the 2019-21 biennium and by $181 million for the 2021-23 biennium. The report projects similar growth to the September revenue forecast.

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

  • $51.733 billion for the 2019-21 biennium, 12.3 percent more than the 2017-19 biennium
  • $55.154 billion for the 2021-23 biennium, 6.6 percent more than the 2019-21 biennium

More background on the state revenue forecast is available here.

Some context behind the numbers:

Washington state:

  • Revenue collections have been higher than forecasted in September. Cumulative major General Fund-State (GF-S) revenue collections from September 11 through November 10, 2019 were $135 million above the forecast. Much of this surplus, however, came from transfers of unclaimed property into the GF-S, which were $47 million higher than forecasted in October.
  • Cumulative Revenue Act taxes (retail sales and use, business and occupation, public utility and non-cigarette tobacco products taxes), which make up the bulk of General Fund-State (GF-S) revenue, were $50 million (1.7 percent) higher than forecasted.
  • Cumulative real estate excise taxes (REET) came in $22 million (11.8 percent) higher than forecasted. Large commercial sales spiked while residential sales activity remained close to forecasted levels.
  • Over half of the increase in forecasted GF-S revenue for the current biennium and the bulk of the increase for the next biennium came from property tax collections. These increases stemmed from a revised estimate of the market value of the existing stock of taxable property, which will determine the level of the calendar year 2020 levy. The increase in estimated market value will increase the levy for next year as well as the following years. The revised valuation, combined with other forecast changes, has resulted in a forecast increase of $147 million for the current biennium and $177 million for the 2021-23 biennium.


  • Seattle area home prices rose over the year for the first time in five months. According to the S&P/Case-Shiller Home Price Indices, seasonally adjusted Seattle area home prices increased 0.5 percent in August while the composite-20 index declined 0.2 percent. Seattle home prices increased 0.5 percent in July as well. Because of the growth in the last two months, Seattle home prices are up 0.7 percent over the year.
  • Seattle area consumer price inflation slightly outpaced the national average in October. From October 2018 to October 2019, the Seattle CPI rose 2.2 percent compared to a 1.8 percent increase in the U.S. City Average.

Governor Jay Inslee will use revenue estimates from this forecast when crafting his proposed 2020 supplemental operating budget, which will amend the enacted 2019-21 biennial budget. The Governor’s budget release is the first step in the budget process for the upcoming 2020 legislative session, which begins in January.

Stay tuned to the OPBlog for updates on the 2020 supplemental budget proposals and the legislative session!