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Eye On Olympia

But wait, there’s less. Weak economy strips another $134 million from the treasury…

Yesterday, the Tacoma News-Tribute had a screamer headline about the flooding: “IT’S BAD — AND IT COULD GET EVEN WORSE TODAY.”

They should paste that headline on the wall at the state Economic and Revenue Forecast, where the budget news just seems to be getting worse.

State tax collections dropped $134 million last month from what was expected, according to senior economic forecaster Eric Swenson.

That’s a steep decline, and it covers the key holiday shopping period: Dec. 11 to Jan. 10.

From the just-posted report:

This month’s adjusted year-over-year decline is the largest since Revenue Act reporting in its
current format began in January 1989. Prior to this month, the largest decline was 7.2 percent
in the January 11 – February 10, 2002 collection period.

This decline, by comparison, is 13.9 percent from the same period last year.

The biggest-declining sectors were car and truck dealers, furniture sellers, building materials and garden stores, and gas stations and convenience stores. Compared to the same month a year ago, taxes from auto dealers have now dropped every month for a year.

The good news, such as it is, was for electronics and appliance sellers, which held steady, and drug stores, which dropped just 1.9 percent.

Also dropping: real estate excise tax, property tax payments, liquor tax collections and, to a lesser degree, cigarette tax collections.

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Richard Roesler covers Washington state news from The Spokesman-Review's bureau in Olympia.

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