Washington’s NGFO surplus is now an estimated $11.249 billion (not including the $1 billion in the shadow reserve account or the $1.3 billion in remaining general federal relief money)

By: Emily Makings
1:27 pm
January 25, 2022

After the November revenue forecast, we estimated the state’s unrestricted ending balance in funds subject to the outlook (NGFO) was $8.649 billion over four years. With new information, we now estimate that the unrestricted NGFO surplus is $11.249 billion (17.6% of revenues).

First, revenue collections have so far exceeded the forecast by $349.8 million.

Second, the Economic and Revenue Forecast Council’s official outlook based on the governor’s budget proposal provides estimates of the maintenance level savings for the outlook period. (The maintenance level is the cost of continuing current services, adjusted for enrollment and inflation.) Under the governor’s proposed budget, maintenance level savings are expected to total $1.144 billion in 2021–23 and another $1.244 billion in 2023–25.

Most of the NGFO surplus is the result of significant increases to the revenue forecast since the current budget was written. The surplus includes the estimated revenues from the capital gains tax, but if you exclude the capital gains revenues (and other legislative changes made last session), NGFO revenues still increased by $7.356 billion for the period of 2019–21 through 2023–25.

On top of the $11.249 billion NGFO surplus, the state has some one-time funds: $1 billion in the Washington rescue plan transition account (the shadow reserve account we discussed here), $1.273 billion left of the state’s share of the federal coronavirus state and local fiscal recovery fund, and about $1.2 billion in the budget stabilization account.

The balance sheet below does not include any of the governor’s proposed policy changes. (For more on how they would affect the outlook, see this post.)

Categories: Budget.