OLYMPIA — Washington is projected to collect $762 million more in revenue in the current two-year budget period than projected last quarter, according to figures released Friday by the Economic and Revenue Forecast Council.
In the upcoming two-year budget cycle, spanning mid-2023 to mid-2025, Washington is expected to see $681 million more than previously projected. Gov. Jay Inslee will release his budget proposal for that time frame in December.
The news comes amid economic uncertainty, including recent announcements of layoffs in the tech sector.
Despite the boost in projected revenue, the state will “still face budget challenges due to dramatically increased costs related to inflation and other factors,” said David Schumacher, director of the Office of Financial Management.
“Today’s numbers represent a bit of a rebound but aren’t cause for celebration, because we all see the news about layoffs and are continuing to pay high costs for gas, heat, food and housing,” said Sen. Lynda Wilson, R-Vancouver, a member of the council, in a statement Friday. “Our state could be just one negative forecast away from a collision course with a financial iceberg — and a shortfall would mean painful spending cuts, painful tax increases or both.”
Rep. Timm Ormsby, D-Spokane, another member of the council, said the forecast showed “volatile risks lingering on the horizon,” and that the Legislature would be tasked with passing “a responsible and sustainable budget that puts people first.”
He said in a statement Friday that state spending should prioritize areas like education, workforce and housing.
“Statewide we need to invest in and support our workforce so that we can provide healthcare, behavioral health, long-term and disability care to ensure families aren’t left without critical services,” Ormsby said. “We must ensure financial support to address significant housing and homelessness needs. There is a lot of work to be done.”
The revenue forecast will guide Inslee and state lawmakers when they convene early next year for a legislative session in which they’ll pass the budget for the 2023-25 biennium.
The next revenue forecast is scheduled for March, roughly two months into the legislative session.