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State projects modest revenue increase as slow economic recovery continues

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Jun 17, 2014
CONTACT: Ralph Thomas, 360-902-7607; ralph.thomas@ofm.wa.gov

OLYMPIA – The June revenue forecast for Washington’s current two-year budget shows projected Near General Fund revenue increasing by $146 million compared to the previous forecast in February. The state’s latest quarterly revenue projection was released today by the Washington State Economic and Revenue Forecast Council.

“The economy continues to grow at a moderate pace,” said Steve Lerch, forecast council executive director. “The overall picture is only slightly changed since our previous forecast.”

Near General Fund collections are now projected to total nearly $33.8 billion for the current two-year budget cycle (2013–15), which began July 1, 2013, and ends June 30, 2015.

The forecast council today also increased its Near General Fund forecast for the 2015–17 biennium by $241 million. Near General Fund collections are now projected to total $36.6 billion for the next two-year budget cycle, which begins July 1, 2015.

“While the revenue increase is welcome news, we still face a significant budget challenge in our next budget,” said David Schumacher, director of the Office of Financial Management.

OFM projects revenue growth for 2015–17 will not keep pace with the cost of maintaining current services and covering mandatory increases, let alone provide the additional $1 billion to $2 billion needed to meet the state’s constitutional basic education obligations.

Last week, OFM sent its 2015–17 budget development instructions to all state agencies and higher education institutions. As a first step in that process, OFM directed agencies to prioritize their activities to identify potential reductions totaling 15 percent of maintenance-level General Fund costs not protected by the state constitution or federal law.

The next revenue forecast is scheduled for release Sept. 17.