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.

OPB has posted two summaries concerning the 2017 legislative session to the Briefs tab of our website:

The 2017 Bill Summary lists the bills OPB tracked during session that were passed by the legislature. Links to veto messages are provided for bills that were vetoed or partially vetoed by the Governor. OPB tracked over 460 bills in the 2017 legislative session, 69 of which passed into law.

The 2017 Fiscal Note Summary lists the fiscal notes—evaluations of the fiscal impact of a bill proposal—that OPB completed on behalf of the UW (with the help of subject matter experts across the University) during the 2017 session. All fiscal notes are requested by the Office of Financial Management (OFM) in Olympia to guide legislative decision-making. This session, OPB completed 111 fiscal notes.

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.

On Tuesday, leadership in the Senate Ways & Means Committee released their initial 2017-19 operating budget proposal. This proposal is the first from a legislative body following the release of Governor Inslee’s operating and capital budget proposals from December. See OPB’s brief here for a full comparison. Unlike the Governor’s budget proposal, the Senate does not propose significant new revenue, and therefore would provide far fewer new investments in new and existing programs.

Some noteworthy items in the Senate budget proposal include:

  • Tuition Policy: Maintains current tuition policy allowing a 2.2 percent increase in resident undergraduate tuition in FY18 and a 2.0 percent increase in FY19. The Governor proposed freezing tuition for two years, and provided funds to backfill that freeze.
  • Undergraduate Enrollment: Adds $10.5 million to the UW over the biennium to increase resident undergraduate enrollments in STEM and other fields.
  • Financial Aid: Reduces the UW’s state appropriation by $5.2 million over the biennium and assume that the University would offset the reduction by reducing tuition waivers provided to students.
  • Compensation: Partially funds $500 wage increases per year for faculty, staff, and represented employees. The budget would also reject tentative collective bargaining agreements between the UW and represented employees.
  • New “Central Service”: Reinstates a charge for central services provided by the Governor’s Office of Financial Management, which would divert $7.5 million in tuition revenue over the biennium.

The Senate did not release a capital budget as of the time of this posting, but the brief will be updated once that information is available. We expect to review proposals from the House Appropriations Committee early next week, and will post additional information at that time.

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.

 

Wednesday, March 8, marked the last day for bills to be considered in (and pass out of) their house of origin during the 2017 Washington state legislative session. This is an important session cutoff, as it narrows the field of bills and helps us home I on those that may have traction towards become a law. As a reminder, however, bills can be introduced and brought back to life at any point in session if they are deemed essential towards implementation of the budget.

Throughout the 2017 session, the Office of Planning & Budgeting (OPB) has been actively tracking legislation that could directly impact the University community. At this point in session, OPB would like to provide a mid-session update by the numbers.

  • 64 – Today, March 13, marks the 64th day of the 105-day regular session. (Note: Due to significant financial pressures, especially those associated with fully funding K-12 education under the McCleary decision, it is likely that the legislature will require one or more special sessions on top of the 105-day regular session.)
  • 88 – The number of fiscal note requests responded to by OPB. Fiscal notes are requests from the state Office of Financial Management to evaluate the financial impact a bill would have on the UW.
  • 409 – The total number of bills being tracked by OPB that could impact the UW community.
  • 124 – The number of bills identified by OPB as “alive”, meaning those that passed out of the house of origin before the cutoff date.

Our focus at OPB now shifts from gaining a big picture view of all bills that may impact the University, to focusing on the specific pieces of legislation that may have enough momentum to pass into law.

Stay tuned to the OPBlog for updates regarding budget proposals from the House and Senate. Briefs on the Governor’s budget proposals, as well as information on all future budget proposals can be found here on the OPB Briefs webpage.

On Wednesday, Governor Inslee released his proposed 2017-19 biennial operating and capital budgets. For a detailed analysis and summary of the Governor’s proposals, please review the OPB brief.

The Governor’s ambitious spending plan relies on new revenue streams, including closing tax exemptions and establishing a new capital gains tax, to make significant investments in K-12 education, mental health, and homelessness. Funding for the UW would include salary increases for faculty and staff and additional enrollment capacity in the UW’s WWAMI medical education program.

The Governor 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. Finally, his plan would allocate $116 million to expand the State Need Grant Program to reduce the number of students who are currently eligible but unserved due to insufficient funding.

As a reminder, this budget release marks the first step of a lengthy budget process. Lawmakers in the Senate and the House will have the opportunity to release their own budget proposals over the course of the 2017 legislative session – set to begin on Monday, January 9, 2017.

Stay tuned to the OPBlog for updates during the 2017 legislative session.

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