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State lowers revenue forecast due to global, national slowdown

February 17, 2016

CONTACT: Ralph Thomas, 360-902-7607;

OLYMPIA – Washington’s projected Near General Fund revenue collections for the current two-year state budget have declined by $78 million, according to estimates released today by the Washington State Economic and Revenue Forecast Council.

“Economic growth has weakened globally and nationally, leading us to soften our revenue expectations,” said Steve Lerch, forecast council executive director.

Total Near General Fund collections are now projected at $37.8 billion for the current two-year budget cycle (2015–17), which began July 1, 2015.

Today’s forecast marks the first time in two years the council has lowered its projection for the current biennium.

The Revenue Forecast Council today also significantly lowered its forecast for the 2017–19 biennium — by $436 million. Total Near General Fund collections are projected at $40.9 billion for the next biennium, which starts July 1, 2017.

The revenue forecast is offset somewhat by new projections approved last week by the state’s Caseload Forecast Council, which indicate the state will have fewer people on welfare and in nursing homes. The state’s medical assistance costs are also lower than previously projected. All told, the new caseload forecast and other adjustments reduce the state’s projected costs for the 2015–17 biennium by about $62 million.

Gov. Jay Inslee in December proposed a supplemental budget that calls for modest adjustments to the 2015–17 budget, primarily to continue delivering services at the levels set in the biennial budget, pay for emergencies and other unanticipated costs and to meet a handful of high-priority needs such as mental health services.

“We look forward to working with the Legislature in the coming weeks on a plan that protects the well-crafted budget we agreed to last year,” said David Schumacher, director of the Office of Financial Management. “Then we can turn our attention to the challenges we know we face in the next biennium.”