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The Spokesman-Review Newspaper
Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883

Spin Control

Consumers make state revenue picture a bit brighter

Washington will take in about $308 million more from taxes and fees by the end of next June that economists expected earlier this spring, state officials were told Wednesday.

In a state with a two-year budget of more than $38 billion, that’s an increase of about 1 percent, and Steve Lerch, the economist who serves as executive director of the forecast council, called it a “modest upward revision.

The official state Revenue Forecast is a bit more optimistic than three months ago because of higher than expected sales tax revenue from consumer spending, and higher real estate excise tax collections, that come from some large commercial property sales and strong growth in residential and smaller commercial property sales.

Economists are forecasting that to slack off a bit in the 2017-19 biennium, but added another $127 million to projections for revenue for that budget period. That’s the budget in which the Legislature is required to increase spending on public school to comply with a state Supreme Court order. The cost of those improvements is estimated to be greater than $1 billion. The extra revenue, if it arrives as projected, would help get the state part way there, but other changes would also be needed.

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