Office of Planning and Budgeting

Earlier today, the Economic and Revenue Forecast Council (ERFC) released its June revenue forecast, which increased projected General Fund-State (GF-S) collections by $81 million for the current 2015-17 biennium and by $87 million for the upcoming 2017-19 biennium. These increases are on top of the more significant increases projected in the March revenue forecast.

Here is a quick summary of the total projected GF-S revenue for each biennium:

  • $38.308 billion for the 2015-17 biennium, 13.8 percent more than the 2013-15 biennium
  • $40.903 billion for the 2017-19 biennium, 6.8 percent more than the 2015-17 biennium
  • $43.875 billion for the 2019-21 biennium, 7.3 percent more than the 2017-19 biennium

Behind the numbers:

  • The forecast is similar to the March forecast, but with slightly higher revenue projections.
  • The forecast attributes these changes to slightly lower personal income growth but slightly higher residential building permits.
  • Similar to the March forecast, concerns cited in this forecast include slow U.S. economic growth, weak labor productivity growth, and international trade concerns.

This is the final revenue forecast before the end of the biennium. The legislature will soon enter the third special session of the year, and budget negotiators in the Senate and House will use this updated forecast of 2017-19 revenues as a baseline for their final budget compromise.

If state lawmakers are unable to pass an operating budget by June 30, the state government will enter a shutdown. The University of Washington is preparing for this possibility and has been in touch with the Governor’s Office of Financial Management (OFM) regarding contingency planning and possible implications for university operations. All agency contingency plans, including the UW’s, are available on the OFM website here.

Stay tuned to the OPBlog for updates on the final budget compromise when that is available.

 

OPB has released two new briefs.

The first brief focuses on trends in Resident Undergraduate (RUG) tuition rates and state funding environments across the United States, based on the most recent “Trends in College Pricing” report, which is released by the College Board each year. The report identifies Washington as the only state to have lower RUG tuition and fee rates than it did five years ago.

The report serves as a basis for a deep dive into the funding environments of some other case studies. The brief looks at Louisiana, Florida and Ohio as comparisons to Washington, as they are the three other states whose legislatures retain RUG tuition setting authority. Despite this fact, each state has had a variety of outcomes regarding tuition policy. California and Maine are also highlighted as case study comparisons because they are the only two other states to show a decrease in tuition over the past five years, though theirs are due to inflation-adjusted tuition freezes.

The second brief is an updated version of previous “Published Price vs. Net Price” briefs, which reflects the newest available data. The brief includes sector-wide data on increases in published price and net price for public and private four-year colleges, a description of how declining state investment in higher education has spurred tuition increases, and a table comparing the UW’s net price net price for resident undergraduates receiving grant or scholarship aid to its U.S. News & World Report top 25 research university peers.

Finally, it is with subdued excited that to announce that these two briefs and blog post will be my last contribution to OPB as an intern. I am graduating tomorrow from the Evans School of Public Policy and Governance, while taking a job down at the State Capitol in Olympia. Thanks to all for reading!