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March revenue collections up a bit, won’t help with budget problem but won’t make it worse, either.

Post by Peter Callaghan / The News Tribune on April 11, 2011 at 2:26 pm |
April 11, 2011 2:30 pm

Okay, it’s only $5.1 million.

But the fact that the first month of actual tax collections since the most-recent devastating state economic and revenue forecast is up and not down is good news. Well, at least it passes for good news.

State economist Arun Raha issues monthly updates to his quarterly forecast. In normal times they are mostly ignored. Now they are anticipated as a means to keep tabs on whether current taxes are going to raise what they are expected to raise.

For one month, the answer is yes. The state’s major tax sources – sales, property and business & occupation – were up $4.74 million over last month’s forecast. Other tax sources grew by $310,000. Compared to one year ago, tax collections are up about 7 percent.

Some, but not the majority, of that growth is due to the portion of last year’s tax hikes that were not repealed at the November election.

“Washington State’s economy continues to muddle along despite considerable headwinds from high energy prices and uncertainty,” today’s report states. “Manufacturing and private services employment is growing, as is personal income. State and local government employment, however, continues to shrink.”

Of the U.S. economy, Raha wrote: “The economic recovery is tentatively holding on. There is uncertainty about the Japanese economy; there is tumult in the Middle East and gas prices have spiked; and last week we dodged a bullet when the federal government did not shut down.”

A pdf of the report is here.

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