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Revenue Forecast Shows Full Recovery Will Remain Out Of Reach Without Reforms

Posted by Andy Nicholas at Sep 18, 2013 06:35 PM |
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Although today’s revenue forecast adds $345 million to projected budget reserves for the current two year budget cycle, available tax resources remain far  below pre-recession levels. Without significant reforms, Washington state's current revenue system will not be able to adequately support important investments like health care, schools, and public safety.

The graph below shows that state tax collections, which finance schools, health care, child care, and many other essential services that support a strong state economy, will remain below pre-recession levels at least through 2016, after adjusting for inflation.

Based on today’s projections from the state Economic and Revenue Forecast Council (ERFC), tax collections for the current fiscal year, which ends in June 2014, are estimated to be $1 billion below 2008 levels, once rising fuel and energy prices and other factors of price inflation are taken into account. Revenues are not projected to reach pre-recession levels again until 2017.

sept-2013_revcollex_real2

The sluggish national economy is a major contributor to the slower-than-adequate growth of tax resources in Washington state. However, no matter what happens in the broader national economy, policymakers in Washington state will  never be able to adequately finance public investments that underpin a robust and competitive state economy unless steps are taken to address serious structural flaws inherent to the state’s 1930s era revenue system.

Reforms such as taxing high-end capital gains and extending the sales tax to include modern goods and services would go a long way toward building a more adequate and equitable revenue system in the long run.

Stay tuned. Next week we will release the third edition of Revenue Trends, a quarterly publication that details how recent projections impact long term economic and historical trends in Washington state.

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Budget Matters 2014

We are excited to announce this year’s Budget Matters 2014 Conference Program! We look forward to seeing you at the Washington State Convention Center on December 12, 2014.  See our detailed program with confirmed speakers here.

Legislative Testimony

Senior Budget Analyst Kim Justice recently testified before Senate Ways and Means against a bill that would fund education at the expense of other budget investments. Watch it here. 

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Budget Matters 2013

More than 300 people -- advocates, students, lawmakers, and policy experts joined us for our second annual policy conference. We heard from Heather McGhee, Jared Bernstein, and Governor Inslee.

Click here for video clips, photos, and PowerPoint presentations from the break-out sessions.

Our new video has highlights from the day. 

Heather McGhee