Blog

September 24 , 2021 - Kriss Sjoblom

Forecast of state revenues increased

At its quarterly meeting today, the state Economic and Revenue Forecast Council (ERFC) updated its forecasts of state revenues. These new forecasts add more than $1.8 billion to the amount available over the current biennium and next bienniums. Budget reports from legislative fiscal committees typically roll up four accounts: the general fund–state, the education legacy […]


September 20 , 2021 - Emily Makings

Through July 31, addressing negative economic impacts was the largest planned use of federal fiscal recovery funds for Washington and its most populous local governments; little had actually been spent

Washington state and its largest local governments have spent very little of their Coronavirus State and Local Fiscal Recovery Funds so far, according to performance reports filed at the end of August. Meanwhile, funding to address negative economic impacts accounts for nearly half of planned expenditures (across all reporting governments). The American Rescue Plan Act […]


September 16 , 2021 - Kriss Sjoblom

September report on state tax collections

The most recent monthly report on general fund revenue collections from the state’s Economic and Revenue Forecast Council (ERFC), which was issued this morning, shows overall revenues above forecast. For the sales tax, the use tax, the business and occupation tax, the public utility tax, the tobacco products tax, and penalties and interest (collectively the […]


August 27 , 2021 - Emily Makings

Seattle’s tax revenues decreased by 7.5% in 2020, but taxes and other revenues are expected to rebound in 2021

According to the Seattle City Budget Office last week, the city’s revenue forecast has improved since the city budget was adopted last year. That is the case even before factoring in federal relief funds or revenues from the new payroll expense tax. The city’s 2021 budget was based on revenue forecasts from last November. Since […]


August 20 , 2021 - Emily Makings

Credit ratings, reserves, and capital gains tax revenues

Last month, the state treasurer’s office reported that Washington’s general obligation debt continues to be rated Aaa by Moody’s and AA+ by S&P and Fitch. As usual, the three agencies approvingly cite Washington’s “strong fiscal governance practices,” including the four-year balanced budget requirement and budget stabilization account (BSA, or the rainy day fund). However, S&P […]


August 17 , 2021 - Emily Makings

“Awash with money”

Earlier this month, Jason Mercier of the Washington Policy Center posted a March 26 memo from Rep. Chopp that set out the Legislature’s options for a capital gains tax. For each of the options, Rep. Chopp listed among the cons that legislators could be “attacked for raising taxes while state is ‘awash with money.’” Indeed, […]


August 13 , 2021 - Emily Makings

Washington reduced K–12 spending in 2021 for enrollment reasons—not due to a revenue shortfall

In June, the National Association of State Budget Officers (NASBO) released the Spring 2021 edition of the Fiscal Survey of States report. NASBO reports that 18 states reduced net general fund spending in mid-year FY 2021; 12 of those states specified that the “cuts were made in response to a revenue shortfall.” Washington reported net […]


July 30 , 2021 - Emily Makings

Federal relief funds to governments, businesses, and individuals in Washington total more than $93 billion so far

I’ve updated our table of federal COVID relief that has been allocated for Washington’s governments, businesses, and individuals. The relief now totals $93.6 billion. Of that, $67.3 billion has gone or will go to businesses and individuals and $26.3 billion is flowing through our state and local governments. This funding will be spent over several […]


July 18 , 2021 - Kriss Sjoblom

July report on state tax collections

The most recent monthly report on general fund revenue collections from the state’s Economic and Revenue Forecast Council (ERFC), which was issued last Friday, showed overall revenues almost spot on forecast. For the sales tax, the use tax, the business and occupation tax, the public utility tax, the tobacco products tax, and penalties and interest […]


July 01 , 2021 - Emily Makings

Happy fiscal new year!

Today is the first day of fiscal year (FY) 2022 and the first day of the 2021–23 biennium. It is happily an entirely different fiscal world for the state than it was a year ago today. The June 2020 forecast estimated that revenues from funds subject to the outlook (including the workforce education investment account) […]