Mike Baker’s Associated Press story today on the state’s economic forecast emphasizes the most salient point, something that could be lost in the press releases.
“Washington state government can expect to bring in $16.1 million less than projected in the current budget cycle because of a lackluster economic recovery, forecasters said Wednesday” is what Baker wrote in the AP story Wednesday.
That might be confusing to some who read the state’s Office of Financial Management press release that carries the headline “Washington quarterly revenue projection for 2011–13 increases $156 million.”
Both are correct, but context is important. State revenues are up $172 million for the two-year budget because of “policy changes and fund shifts,” wrote Brad Shannon at the Olympian. Subtract $16 million from revenues lost by the overall economy and you get that $156 million increase.
In relative terms the $16 million is more or less flat, according to House Ways and Means Chairman Ross Hunter, a Medina Democrat. Compared to the forecast a year ago when revenues were projected to be down $780 million from earlier predictions, that’s true. The celebrations over the most recent numbers, however, are tepid at best and fraught with warnings about events that could make the numbers a lot worse.
OFM’s press release follows, as does the governor’s official
statement and those from Republican budget leadership. If
Democratic leadership from the Legislature issues any statements
I’ll add them.