Every month, the state’s economists release an update of the state’s economic forecast and actual state tax collections. It is a way to see if the quarterly forecasts are on track – call it an early warning system of budget troubles ahead.
For the past two years, the forecasters have never managed to be pessimistic enough. Sure, they downgraded the economic forecast as the recession deepened and then again when the recovery turned into a slow one. Still, the forecasts were too high and the monthly update were a horror show.
That’s why this sentence in the October update must have produced some smiles in the Office of the Forecast Council:
“Major General Fund-State (GF-S) revenues for the September 11, 2010 – October 10, 2010 collection period were $2.5 million (0.3%) higher than our September forecast.”
Even though $2.5 million isn’t much, and won’t do anything to ease the job of the next Legislature, it is up.
It isn’t down.
And that’s what passes for good economic news.