An increase in revenue may help speed along negotiations between the House and Senate. Ian Cope reports. (TRT: 1:07) CLICK HERE TO DOWNLOAD
The June report to the Economic and Revenue Forecast Council shows that revenues in Washington have grown by roughly $230 million since the March report. Combined with additional revenue from a drop in the state caseload forecast and agreement on the Bracken estate tax fix, budget negotiators find themselves at their closest point since negotiations began. Sen. Jim Hargrove, the ranking Democrat on the Senate Ways & Means Committee, says with these numbers in hand the legislature should be able to end a grueling series of sessions and meet many of their goals.
Sen. Hargrove (TRT: 22 sec) CLICK TO DOWNLOAD: “This is really a good report. I think the best news is that our economy is continuing to gradually improve and the additional revenue that has shown up in this projection for our next budget cycle I believe will help us get our budget work done in short order. We’re going to be able to make significant increases in education while we don’t severely damage programs that keep our citizens healthy and safe.”
The rosier economic outlook is buoyed by upticks in the housing and construction markets and small improvements in the state’s sales tax collection. While concerns still exist over Europe, China and US federal economic policies, the numbers continue to point to economic recovery and a return to pre-recession levels.