Office of Planning and Budgeting

Today, the Washington state Economic and Revenue Forecast Council (ERFC) released November revenue forecast. The forecast increased projected General Fund-State (GF-S) revenue for the 2017-19 biennium by $304 million. Projected revenue collections for the 2019-21 biennium have also increased by $186 million. These new projections show a slight increase from the September revenue forecast.

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

  • Final GF-S revenue collections for the 2015-17 biennium, which ended June 30, 2017, were $38.317 billion, an increase of 13.8 percent over the 2013-15 biennium ($6 million higher than what was estimated in September 2017).
  • $43.566 billion for the 2017-19 biennium, 13.7 percent more than the 2015-17 biennium.
  • $47.582 billion for the 2019-21 biennium, 9.2 percent more than the 2017-19 biennium.

Behind the numbers:

  • Cumulative major GF-S revenue collections from September 11, 2017 through November 10, 2017 were $119 million (3.9%) higher than forecasted in September.
  • Forecasted personal income in Washington is slightly higher than September.
  • The forecast attributes most changes in revenue to property taxes. Under legislation passed in the 2017 special sessions, property taxes for the next four years will increase by a new formula that will lead to more revenue collection.
  • Similar to the September forecast, concerns cited in this forecast include slow U.S. economic growth, weak labor productivity growth, and international trade concerns.

This is the last revenue forecast of the year. Governor Jay Inslee will use the November revenue forecast to craft his 2018 supplemental budget proposal (amending the 2017-19 biennial budget), which is expected to be released in December. Stay tuned to the OPBlog for updates on the Governor’s budget proposal when it is released.

Last month, the Economic and Revenue Forecast Council (ERFC) released their September revenue forecast, the first forecast of the current fiscal year. The forecast increased projected General Fund-State (GF-S) collections by $279 million for the current 2017-19 biennium and $243 million for the upcoming 2019-21 biennium. These increases are on top of increases projected in the June revenue forecast.

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

  • $38.311 billion for the 2015-17 biennium, 13.8 percent more than the 2013-15 biennium
  • $43.262 billion for the 2017-19 biennium, 12.9 percent more than the 2015-17 biennium
  • $47.396 billion for the 2019-21 biennium, 9.6 percent more than the 2017-19 biennium

Behind the numbers:

  • The forecast is similar to the June forecast, but with slightly higher revenue projections. Most of the extra collections are projected to occur in the current biennium, which began on July 1, 2017.
  • The forecast attributes most changes in revenue to legislation that was passed in 2017 session, after the June forecast. The largest increases came from an increase to the state property tax levy for basic education and from an extension of retail sales and B&O tax liability to more categories of online sales. The legislature also repealed a sales tax exemption for bottled water. These legislative changes accounted for an additional $2.4 billion in the current biennium.
  • Similar to the June forecast, concerns cited in this forecast include slow U.S. economic growth, weak labor productivity growth, and international trade concerns.

As a reminder, there will be one more forecast in November, on which the Governor will base his proposed 2018 supplemental budget (amending the enacted 2017-19 biennial budget).

Stay tuned to the OPBlog for updates on revenue forecasts and the upcoming 2018 legislative session.

Leadership in the House and Senate released a 2017-19 compromise state operating budget on June 30, 2017 in the form of Substitute Senate Bill 5883. The Governor signed the budget less than an hour before midnight, narrowly avoiding a partial state government shutdown. Lawmakers also passed a partial capital budget that reappropriates unspent capital funding from the 2015-17 biennium, which allows previously authorized projects to continue into the new biennium, but does not make new appropriations for 2017-19.

brief from the Office of Planning & Budgeting provides a detailed overview of the final compromise operating budget and partial capital budget. We expect that a compromise 2017-19 capital budget will be released within a couple weeks, and will update the brief at that time.

The final compromise operating budget represents a middle ground between budget proposals released by the Governor, House and Senate earlier this session. The budget maintains current tuition policy, allowing for a 2.2 percent resident undergraduate tuition increase in FY18. Lawmakers made significant investments to maintain and expand state programs, especially in K-12 education. As a reminder, this budget cycle largely focused on meeting the state’s K-12 funding obligations, due to the state Supreme Court’s ruling in McCleary v. State of Washington.

Investments directed at the UW include funding for employee compensation, medical education, STEM enrollments, and several research initiatives across academic disciplines. However, lawmakers also reduced the UW’s state funding and assumed an offsetting reduction in tuition waived for graduate students. They also instituted a new charge to state agencies for services provided by the Governor’s Office of Financial Management (OFM), which will result in the UW having to use $3 million in student tuition revenue over the biennium to support OFM instead of the University’s academic mission.

 

Please contact Jed Bradley if you have any questions.

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.

 

On Monday, leadership in the House Appropriations Committee released their initial operating budget proposal. This proposal follows last week’s release of the Senate operating proposal and December’s release of the Governor’s operating and capital proposals.

See the new OPB brief here for information regarding the House proposal, as well as a full comparison between current budget proposals.

Some noteworthy items in the House Appropriations operating budget proposal include:

  • Compensation: Partially funds a 2 percent increase in FY18 and two 2 percent increases in FY19 for non-represented employees, and partially funds collective bargaining agreements for represented employees.
  • Tuition Policy: Like the Governor’s proposal, the House would freeze resident undergraduate tuition across all public higher education institutions for two years, and would provide funding to cover the difference between the tuition freeze and incremental revenue expected under current policy.
  • Undergraduate Enrollment: Adds $6 million to the UW over the biennium to increase degree production in the Department of Computer Science and Engineering.
  • Financial Aid: Appropriates $49.2 million to the State Need Grant to reduce the number of unserved, eligible students, by 25 percent (around 6000 students).
  • Provisos: Adds new funding for several targeted efforts, including funding for the Regional Initiatives in Dental Education (RIDE Program)

In addition, the Senate Ways & Means committee released its proposed capital budget on Tuesday, and the OPB brief on the Senate’s proposals has been updated. Some highlights include:

  • Funding to complete the Burke Museum ($24.2 million)
  • Minor Works and Preventative Maintenance ($70.8 million from the UW Building Account)
  • Major Infrastructure – Seismic Upgrades ($10 million)
  • Population Health Sciences Building ($15 million)
  • Health Sciences Education – T-wing Renovation ($10 million)
  • Center for Advanced Materials and Clean Energy ($10 million)
  • Evans School – Parrington Hall Renovation ($10 million)

The House has not released a capital budget as of the time of this posting, but that brief will be updated once that information is available.

 

Stay tuned to the OPBlog for updates on proposed budgets.

Earlier today, the Economic and Revenue Forecast Council (ERFC) released its March revenue forecast, which increased projected General Fund-State (GF-S) collections by $247 million for the current 2015-17 biennium and by $303 million for the upcoming 2017-19 biennium. These increases are on top of the increases projected in the November revenue forecast.

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

  • $38.227 billion for the 2015-17 biennium, 13.5 percent more than the 2013-15 biennium
  • $40.817 billion for the 2017-19 biennium, 6.8 percent more than the 2015-17 biennium
  • $43.842 billion for the 2019-21 biennium, 7.4 percent more than the 2017-19 biennium

Behind the numbers:

  • The forecast largely attributes the higher projections to increases in retail sales tax and Real Estate Excise Tax (REET) collections.
  • The forecast includes slightly stronger personal income and employment growth than were projected in November
  • Concerns cited in the forecast include slow global and U.S. Economic Growth, weak labor productivity growth and uncertainty regarding fiscal and trade policy.

Any excess revenue collected in the 2015-17 biennium will contribute to reserves that will be available as one-time funds to spend in the 2017-19 biennium. Budget writers in the Senate and House will use this updated forecast of fund balance and projected 2017-19 revenues as a baseline for their budget proposals, which are expected to be released within the next couple weeks. During today’s meeting of the Economic & Revenue Forecast Council, Senator Braun and Representative Ormbsy (chairs of the Senate Ways & Means Committee and House Appropriations Committee, respectively) discussed that overall, this revenue forecast is positive news and will be used to make final adjustments to each of their budget proposals.

The state continues to face significant budgetary challenges, largely due to required investments in K-12 education. Governor Inslee’s operating budget proposal, released in December, included over $4.4 billion in new revenue to help invest in K-12 education. Stay tuned to the OPBlog for updates on budget proposals as they are released by leadership in the House and Senate.

 

On Wednesday, the Washington state Economic and Revenue Forecast Council released its November revenue forecast, which projected a slight increase to General Fund-State (GF-S) collections over the September revenue forecast. The GF-S revenue forecast increased by $215 million for the current 2015-17 biennium and $137 million for the 2017-19 biennium.

  • Final GF-S revenue collections for the 2013-15 biennium were $33.666 billion.
  • Total projected GF-S revenue for the 2015-17 biennium is now $37.980 billion, 12.8 percent more than the 2013-15 biennium.
  • Total projected GF-S revenue for the 2017-19 biennium is now $40.514 billion, 6.7 percent more than the 2015-17 biennium.
  • Total projected GF-S revenue for the 2019-21 biennium is now $43.656 billion, 7.8 percent more than the 2017-19 biennium.

Behind the numbers:

  • The forecast attributes the higher projections due mainly to increases in retail sales tax and Real Estate Excise Tax (REET) collections.
  • The forecast includes slightly stronger personal income and employment but lower housing permits.
  • Concerns cited in the forecast include slow global and U.S. Economic Growth, weak labor productivity growth and uncertainty regarding fiscal and trade policy.
  • Washington state employment is up by 13,500 net new jobs in September and October.

According to an article in the Tacoma News Tribune, this additional tax revenue will contribute to a 2017-19 state budget that is expected to be more than $40 billion. David Schumacher, Director of the Governor’s Office of Financial Management, stated that this increase in revenue “always helps, but it doesn’t solve the huge problems we’re facing.” One of the biggest problems Schumacher referred to is the Washington state Supreme Court’s mandate to increase K-12 education spending (McCleary v. State of Washington). While there is current debate about the estimated cost of complying with McCleary, the most commonly cited estimate is approximately $3.5 billion, and in Schumacher’s opinion “there’s broad agreement that we’re that neighborhood.”

Governor Jay Inslee will use this revenue forecast and estimates for complying with McCleary when crafting his state budget proposal, which will be released in mid-December in advance of the 2017 legislative session. Stay tuned to the OPBlog for updates on the Governor’s budget proposal when it is released.

Yesterday, the Economic and Revenue Forecast Council (ERFC) released its September revenue forecast, which increased projected General Fund-State (GF-S) collections by $334 million for the current 2015-17 biennium and by $125 million for the upcoming 2017-19 biennium. As a reminder, there will be one more revenue forecast in November before Governor Inslee releases his proposed 2017-19 biennial budget in anticipation of the 2017 legislative session.

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

  • $37.765 billion for the 2015-17 biennium, 12.2 percent more than 2013-15
  • $40.377 billion for the 2017-19 biennium, 6.9 percent more than 2015-17
  • $43.630 billion for the 2019-21 biennium, 8.1 percent more than 2017-19

Behind the numbers:

  • Revenue collections from June to September were $225 million higher than forecasted in June, but over half of that increase was attributed to several large (and one-time) audit-related payments of past-due taxes.
  • This forecast noted slightly stronger personal income and employment compared to the June forecast.
  • Strong retail sales, housing construction, and real estate excise tax (REET) collections continue to create positive revenue trends.
  • Risks to the revenue forecast include weak labor productivity and slow economic growth (both in the U.S. and globally).

Any excess revenue collected in the 2015-17 biennium will contribute to reserves (est. $1.8 Billion) that will be available to spend in the 2017-19 biennium, however, the state continues to face significant budgetary challenges in complying with the State Supreme Court’s orders to fully fund K-12 education.

Stay tuned to the OPBlog for updates on revenue forecasts and the upcoming 2017 legislative session.

Last week, the Economic and Revenue Forecast Council (ERFC) released its June revenue forecast, which increased projected General Fund-State (GF-S) collections by $294 million for the current 2015-17 biennium and by $126 million for the upcoming 2017-19 biennium. This is an improvement over the February forecast, which had predicted slower revenue growth in both biennia (see our blog post here). As a reminder, there will be at least three more revenue forecasts between now and when the legislature sets the 2017-19 budget.

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

  • $37.431 billion for the 2015-17 biennium, 11.2 percent more than 2013-15.
  • $40.252 billion for the 2017-19 biennium, 7.5 percent more than 2015-17.
  • $43.575 billion for the 2019-21 biennium, 8.3 percent more than 2017-19.

Behind the numbers:

  • The forecast attributed the increase to strong sales of large commercial properties and rising home prices.
  • Other positives included growth in housing permits and increases in inflation, which typically result in greater retail sales, business taxes, and property taxes.
  • Slight decreases in U.S. and Washington state personal income forecasts continue to have a negative effect on the revenue forecast.

According to a press release from the Governor’s Office of Financial Management, “With the latest forecast, the state is now projected to have nearly $1.5 billion in total reserves at the end of the current biennium and more than $1.4 billion at the end of the 2017–19 biennium. Those reserve figures, however, do not take into account the multibillion obligation the state faces in the next biennium to meet its constitutional obligation to fully fund basic education.”

As a result, state agencies, including the UW, have received instructions to severely limit requests for new programs or policy initiatives in their requests for state funding in the 2017-19 biennium.

Stay tuned to the OPBlog for updates on revenue forecasts.

This week, leadership in the House and Senate released their respective supplemental operating and capital budget proposals for the current biennium (FY16 & FY17), which follow the December release of Governor Jay Inslee’s proposals. As a reminder, the House and Senate proposals will be amended before they pass their respective chambers.

Please see the OPB brief for a detailed comparison of the House, Senate and Governor’s supplemental operating and capital budget proposals.

Some highlights:

  • The budget released by the leadership in the Senate Ways & Means Committee would provide the most funding overall, largely because it includes additional funding for the resident undergraduate tuition reduction backfill associated with 2ESB 5954.
  • None of the three capital budgets provide additional funding for the UW beyond the original 2015-17 capital budget.

Legislators will have until March 10, the last day of session, to complete and pass a compromise budget.

See the table below for a quick comparison of the budget proposals:

BudgetComparison

 

 

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