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$415 million increase in forecasted revenue

Published:2015-05-19 Opinion
$415 million increase in forecasted revenue     Print Snohomish Times    
$415 million increase in forecasted revenue

By Jason Mercier
With not much progress to date on budget negotiations during the special session, yesterday's $415 million increase in forecasted revenue may just be what lawmakers need to wrap up their work. According to the state's Economic Revenue Forecast Council:
“The GF-S revenue forecast has been increased by $106 million for the 2013-15 biennium and by $309 million for the 2015-17 biennium . . . GF-S revenues are expected to grow 9.8% between the 2011-13 and 2013-15 biennia and 9.2% between the 2013-15 and 2015-17 biennia.”
This $415 million increase in forecasted revenue means lawmakers now have approximately $3.2 billion in new revenue to increase state spending with. Of note, the 9.2% increase in revenue also exceeds the amount that lawmakers are allowed to grow the budget by under current law.
Under the state's spending limit, the budget is currently allowed to increase by 8.65% for 2015-17 - well within the 9.2% increase in forecasted revenue growth. Both budgets (House/Senate), however, currently propose spending in excess of not only the state spending limit but forecasted revenue.
A $3.2 billion increase in forecasted revenue coupled with complying with the state's spending limit should be enough to help lawmakers "set the size of the box" for budget negotiations and finish their work.

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