Office of Planning & Budgeting

February 20, 2020

February Revenue Forecast Shows Continued Growth

The Economic and Revenue Forecast Council (ERFC) released their February revenue forecast on February 19. The projected Near General Fund-State (GF-S) revenue forecast increased by $606 million for the 2019-21 biennium and by $536 million for the 2021-23 biennium. The report projects higher than forecasted revenue compared to the November revenue forecast.

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

  • $52.339 billion for the 2019-21 biennium, 13.6 percent more than the 2017-19 biennium
  • $55.690 billion for the 2021-23 biennium, 6.4 percent more than the 2019-21 biennium
  • $59.176 billion for the 2023-25 biennium, 6.3 percent over expected 2021-23 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 November. Cumulative major GF-S revenue collections from November 11, 2019 through February 10, 2020 were $162 million above the forecast. About $90 million of the collections surplus came from a larger-than-expected spike in real estate activity ahead of the January 1 increase in real estate excise tax (REET) rates on property worth more than $1.56 million.
  • 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 GF-S revenue, were $64 million (1.4 percent) higher than forecasted.
  • Forecasted Education Legacy Trust Account (ELTA) revenue for the 2019-21 biennium increased by $310 million, mainly due to higher-than-forecasted estate tax receipts.


  • Seattle-area home prices rose over the year for a fourth consecutive month in November following year-over-year declines in the previous four months. According to the S&P/Case-Shiller Home Price Indices, seasonally adjusted Seattle home prices increased 0.8 percent in November. Because of the strong growth in the last five months, November Seattle home prices were up 3.3 percent over the year. In comparison, the composite-20 index was up 2.5 percent over the year.
  • Seattle-area consumer price inflation slightly trailed the national average in December despite above average shelter cost inflation. From December 2018 to December 2019, the Seattle CPI rose 2.2 percent compared to a 2.3 percent increase in the U.S. City Average.

The legislature will use revenue estimates from this forecast when crafting the proposed 2020 supplemental operating budget, which will amend the enacted 2019-21 biennial budget. These proposals follow previous proposals from Governor Jay Inslee. A subsequent compromise budget will be released in the coming weeks.

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