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Here’s the state revenue and forecast council meeting Twitter version — new money makes tax hike vote somewhat less likely

Post by Peter Callaghan / The News Tribune on Feb. 16, 2012 at 10:53 am |
February 16, 2012 11:01 am

House chair Ross Hunter says this is first time in 15 quarters that forecast hasn’t brought bad news.

WA Sen. budget chair Ed Murray says fact that forecast is stable is unusual and welcome news.”We’re finally moving in the right direction.”

GOP budget leaders Joe Zarelli says the gains in this forecast aren’t significant. Says reduction in caseload forecast is more important.

Ed Murray says he does not expect Sonic’s arena backers to ask for any state help. That’s what city and county officials have said.

WA House budget is expected Tuesday-Wed of next week. Senate will follow early the following week.

Sen. Ed Murray on tax hike: “A week ago I would have said there is no question. Now I would say there is a question”

Now appears that WA budget problem is $1 bill and that includes $500m reserve fund. Does that reduce support for a tax-hike vote?

House budget chair Ross Hunter says rev and caseload forecasts make budget problems easier.

WA forecaster Lerch says baseline jobless rate is 5.4%. WA will only get down to 7.5% by end of this biennium (June 30, 2013)

“Revenues are expected to grow 7.4% between the 2009-11 and 2011-13 biennium and 6.6% between the 2011-13 and 2013-15 biennium”

“US and WA econs appear headed for an extended period of muddle-through – slow econ and job growth, high unemployment and weak confidence”

Gov’s council of economic advisors are slightly more pessimistic, would carve $23m from Lerch’s forecast for rest of this biennium.

Most of $96 m increase in revenue is non-economic, due to December law regarding when unclaimed property can be sold (HB 2169).

Both WA sales taxes and business taxes are returning to growth says forecaster Lerch. Real estate taxes up a bit but no patterns are clear.

Forecaster Lerch says job recovery in WA state will be faster than US as a whole. But will be late 2014 B4 WA gets to pre-recession levels.

Lerch says labor deal with Boeing and its unions will have a huge impact on state economy. Also seeing growth in software jobs.

WA forecasters show map of US without Maine. Lerch jokes that it was sold for deficit reduction.

Lerch says housing prices, which are declining again, have a negative impact on consumer confidence.

Acting state forecaster Steve Lerch says consumer confidence is up a tick but is still at recessionary levels.

And here’s the press release on the WA forecast (that is now live on TVW).

Here’s the WA revenue forecast document that is being distributed to council members right now.

New WA revenue forecast adds $96m from Nov. With help from lower caseloads, pending cuts can go from excruciating to just extremely painful.

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