June 25, 2018
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State forecast shows $600 million boost to tax collections over next four years

The latest numbers from the state's Economic and Revenue Forecast Council show that a strong economy will continue to push tax money into state coffers at a rate even higher than expected. The upshot: about $300 million more in tax collections than previously budgeted in each of the next two upcoming budget cycles.

"The Washington economy is expanding at a rapid pace. Income, employment, and population growth all exceed national averages. The major change in the Washington economic forecast since February is higher personal income, part of which is due to higher inflation in the near term," the report concludes.

It also notes that Washington's economy is generally strong, but that risks remain, including international trade concerns, geopolitical risks and the maturing economic expansion.

The forecast shows $298 million more in the current biennium, which ends June 30, 2019, and is now set to be $45.3 billion.

And looking ahead to the 2019-21 budget, the state's tax collections are expected to increase by nearly $287 million, pushing the state tax collected from employers and residents to $49.4 billion.

The state is now expected to have a reserve of $2.9 billion.

David Schumacher, the governor's top budget-writer and the director of the state Office of Financial Management, said this uptick in revenues won't be enough to meet the state's needs, including caseload and cost growth, maintenance of K-12 education and health care systems, mental health outlays, employee compensation, and other governmental costs.

“Even with today’s increased forecast in the current biennium, we will face some big challenges in balancing the next two-year state budget,” Schumacher said.

The Olympian covered the story, and Opportunity Washington took a look at the big picture.

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