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Posts tagged: economic forecast

Good forecast could mean Lege gets outta town

State economist Steve Lerch, right, explains figures from the latest economic forecast to Rep. Ross Hunter Tuesday.

OLYMPIA — The state's economic outlook is improving, in part because of better home sales, and the state could have an extra $231 million in tax revenue over the next two years for its general operating budget.

That's the word from the Revenue and Forecast Council, which believes the March projections were a bit low by about $110 million for this biennium and $121 million for the 2013-15 biennium.

While a relatively small percentage of the state's operating budget, which tops $32 billion, negotiators who have been locked in budget talks for weeks predicted it will generate an agreement relatively soon and prevent a partial government shutdown in July.

“We'll get closer as a result of this,” Rep. Ross Hunter, D-Medina, chairman of the House Appropriations Committee, said.

“It should break one of the final logjams,” Sen. Andy Hill, R-Redmond, chairman of the Senate Ways and Means Committee, said. . . 

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State revenue up, but is it enough?

OLYMPIA – Revenue projections for the next two years suggest the state budget will grow by about $2 billion. That’s more than some legislators expected and more than enough to fuel the debate between Senate Republicans and House Democrats over spending cuts and tax increases.

The March economic and revenue forecast says the state is slowly coming out of the recession, with housing starts and car sales up, overall consumer confidence down and significant questions about future hits the state coffers could take from with economic problems in Europe, a slowdown in China or the continuing budget stalemates in Washington, D.C.

We still see lots of uncertainty out there,” Steve Lerch, the state economist, said. Although legislators were bracing for a drop of as much as $300 million, the revenue forecast didn’t change significantly from December.

The state should have about $32.5 billion in its general operating fund for the two-year budget cycle, which begins July 1. That would be up from about $30.5 billion it will collect, and mostly spend, for the biennial cycle that ends June 30. . .

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WA economic forecast today

OLYMPIA — The state's economic forecast for the remainder of this two-year budget cycle comes out this morning, and the real question here is not “Will it be bad?” but “How bad will it be?”

In June, the forecast all but wiped out the budgetary cushion, aka the ending fund balance, the Legislature thought it left at the end of its special session. Since that time, most economic news has been worse, not better.

Chief Economic Forecaster Arun Raha is scheduled to begin his presentation at 10 a.m. to the forecasting council. He typically gives a midline forecast, as well as a pessimistic and optimistic estimate.

A major drop in expected revenues early in the biennium — that is, in the next six months — could prompt calls from some legislators for another special session to trim the budget. Gov. Chris Gregoire has already ordered state agency leaders to come up with plans to cut 5 percent and 10 percent from the spending plans they were given by the Legislature in June.

We'll have updates for you later in the morning.

WA Lege Day 67: Economic day of reckoning

OLYMPIA — Today is F-Day in Olympia, as in Forecast Day.

Arun Raha, the state's chief economist, will issue his forecast of the amount of revenue the state can expect to collect in the 2011-13 biennium, which will guide budget writers in the Legislature for however long it takes for them to write the General Operating Budget.

Until noon, the state budget is projected to have a $4.6 billion gap between what the state can expect to bring in with taxes, fees and other sources of revenue, and the cost of all the programs, services and salaries it currently has on the books.

The forecast released at noon is expected to widen that gap, and the real question is, by  how much? The low side is about $500 million; the high side is $2 billion.

Gov. Chris Gregoire has a press conference scheduled for 2 p.m. to talk about the new numbers.

But that's not all, as they say in the Ronco commercials.

The Poker Players Alliance, who are fans of online poker are in Olympia lobbying their favorite legislators to change the law to make the online version of their favorite card game poker legal in Washington. They'll  shuffling up and dealing with legislators at a closed door reception later in the evening.


The Washington Association of Churches and other faith-based groups from throughout the Puget Sound are mounting an InterFaith Advocacy Day to lobby for their favorite programs, and will be able to join the Protect our Future Revenue Forecast Rally on the north steps of the Capitol about the time the forecast is being announced. The Backbone Campaign has a “Prioritize People” vigil across the lawn on the Temple of Justice steps. The state's newspaper publishers are also in town. It's Massage Awareness Day with massage therapists in the Capitol Mezzanine. Many of the staff are wearing green for St. Patrick's Day, although some members of the SEIU who are doing some lobbying will be dressed in a different shade for Purple Presence Day.

Economy improving, state budget in black from tax hikes

OLYMPIA — Although the economic recovery “lost steam” in May, the state’s economic outlook is slowly improving and the state’s budget no longer awash in red ink.

What’s keeping it in the black, however, are hundreds of millions in new taxes the state expects to collect through mid 2013, and an as-yet unfulfilled promise of $480 million in federal money.

Arun Raha, the state’s chief economist, said this morning the state’s job growth was “disappointing” in May, after several good months of increases when manufacturing and software jobs improved. In May, most of the job growth was from temporary employment for people helping with the U.S. Census.

Some employers are holding off on new hires…

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About this blog

Jim Camden is a veteran political reporter for The Spokesman-Review.

Jonathan Brunt is an enterprise reporter for The Spokesman-Review.

Kip Hill is a general assignments reporter for The Spokesman-Review.

Nick Deshais covers Spokane City Hall for The Spokesman-Review.

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