Rep. Terry Nealey’s statement on November revenue forecast
Rep. Terry Nealey's statement on November revenue forecast
Legislators in Olympia today adopted the most recent revenue forecast issued by the Washington State Economic and Revenue Forecast Council.
According to Chief Economist Steve Lerch, the 2013-15 General Fund-State net change is an increase of $16 million. The forecast also shows an increase of $9 million for the 2011-13 biennium. However, officials are predicting a decrease in revenue of nearly $44 million for the 2015-17 budget cycle.
A technical adjustment regarding the definition of revenue reclassifies funds, which changes numbers in the forecast. However, Lerch said the non-economic reclassification does not change the ending fund balance in the state budget, so the “net impact is zero.”
“This latest forecast shows us the state's economy is continuing to improve, but recovery remains slow. While the immediate forecast is good news, it also underscores the fact our economy remains in a very precarious position.
“There is still uncertainty among employers and consumers. Boeing is receiving interest from all over the country to build its 777X jet, which could mean the loss of many jobs in Washington if it takes that project elsewhere. The state Department of Labor and Industries will soon be considering another increase in employer workers' compensation rates for 2014. In January, the state's minimum wage will increase to $9.32 per hour – which is the highest minimum wage in the nation. And there are still more than 240 thousand people in Washington unemployed and looking for work. Our state's economy remains fragile. That's why it will be so important in the 2014 session to make sure our actions in the Legislature don't further destabilize the economy and propel us into negative territory.
“During the last special session when we approved nearly nine-billion dollars in tax incentives for the aerospace industry, a very good point was made that we can attract and create more jobs in Washington if we extend that same tax and regulatory relief to other employers in Washington. That needs to be the focus of the 2014 session.
“This latest forecasted increase in revenue is only a small windfall when you consider our near General-Fund biennial state budget is in excess of 33 billion dollars. We need to invest our surpluses wisely into K-12 and higher education, pay down the state's pension liabilities, and put money aside to buffer against future economic downfalls.
“Let's use the coming session as an opportunity to improve our state's economy and get Washington working again.”
###Washington State House Republican Communications