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Tag: Arun Raha


Washington budget writers hoping for some help from the next revenue forecast may need to look elsewhere

The next official forecast – the one that will determine the exact amount of money available for the 2011-13 budget – is due March 17.

But until then, economic tea leaves are contained in the month economic and revenue update done by state economist Arun Raha. It not only updates his projections for the state and national economies, it reports the actual tax collections from the previous month and says whether they are higher or lower than normal.

Today’s update teases with news that tax collections are slightly more healthy than expected _ by $36.9 million. But then Raha and

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State tax collections still weak but better than a month ago

The August state revenue update was released this morning and continues to show a troubling trend – tax collections coming in lower than predicted at the last official state forecast in June.

Tax collections were down $40.2 million from the forecast in the period from July 10 to August 10, according to the report by state economist Arun Raha and his staff at the Office of the Forecast Council. Combined with weak May and June collections, the state is now expecting $124.5 million less over the course of this budget period than it had just a few months ago.

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State tax collections up for May but …

The new state tax-collection report shows some good news for Washington budget writers: Collections in the month ending June 10 showed $17.9 million more was taken in than state revenue forecasters had predicted in February.

The Economic and Revenue Forecast Council’s report, linked here, also mentions an improvement in job creation – including 16,100 new net jobs in Washington from December through April, with 15,500 of those in the private sector.

Top forecaster Arun Raha also says personal incomes are “growing moderately” and the council remains “bullish” about job prospects in the aerospace industry. He reports that software publishing is

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New state revenue report has good news and bad news; but mostly good news

The good news is pretty good – okay, with two years of bad news, it LOOKS pretty good.

For the first time since September of 2008, state Revenue Act collections showed a year-over-year increase. Sure, last April was pretty lousy. But it shows how bad things have been that it took until the latest report to have an increase.

The Revenue Act created the state’s basic taxes – sales tax, business and occupation tax and some smaller levies. According to the report issued by the state Economic and Revenue Forecast Council, April collections were up 2.3 percent.

Overall, tax collections are below what the council estimated they should be as recently as February. In the three months of actual collections, the state is behind about $50 million. But given that the state collects about $.125 billion a month in taxes, it’s not much. Only if it remains down month-after-month does it add up to yet-another budget problem.

But the May economic and revenue update doesn’t anticipate that. In fact, the forecast – led by state economist Arun Raha – was pretty upbeat.

“We remain comfortable with our February forecast,” the report stated.

Here’s the nut graph:

– “Economic data released since the February 2010 forecast release continue
to support the view that the state’s economy has turned the corner and is
expanding at a moderate rate. As expected in the February forecast,
employment increased 6,600 during the first three months of 2010. Washington
housing permits continued to grow in the first quarter of 2010, exceeding the
February forecast by about 12%. Consumer spending appears to be coming
back and the outlook for manufacturing remains positive. However, construction
employment continues to decline.”

The report was especially optimistic about retail sales. Based on reports from electronic filers (the reports that come in the quickest and can be an early indicator) year-over-year tax payments were up 5.9 percent.

“This was the largest year-over-year increase since November, 2007,” the report stated. Read more »


State revenue collections down just a bit. Does that count as good news?

State economist Arun Raha has released his
March economic and revenue update and the usually humorous PhD has some good news and he has some bad news.

The good news is that the nation’s economic recovery appears to be continuing. The bad news is it hit a speed bump last month.

“Data point to weakness in housing, reductions in state and local government expenditures, weak consumer confidence and a stalling of
European growth,” Raha wrote. “On the plus side, output is still growing, job losses were less than expected, business spending on equipment and software has turned

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Budget hole deepens to $2.8 billion

That’s the thrust of today’s announcement of the February revenue forecast by the state’s top economic forecaster, Arun Raha.

Raha says revenues should go up by about $31.5 million over the remaining 16 months of the 2009-11 biennium, which ends in June 2011. But when tax-refund implications are factored in for the state Supreme Court’s ruling last year in the Dot Foods case involving out-of-state wholesalers, the net loss to the state is $118 million, according to the governor’s Office of Financial Management.

Gov. Gregoire has proposed $1.7 billion in cuts to help bridge the gap and is relying on

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Gregoire says state tax revenue collection not up much but at least not down

At her press conference this morning, Gov. Chris Gregoire gave a little preview of this Friday’s revenue forecast: Not bad, not bad at all.

That’s based on December tax collections which are up more than forecast. While state economists were predicting 2 percent growth, the actual collections are showing a 3.6 percent increase over the previous year.

These aren’t boomtime numbers. But given how many recent revenue forecasts have predicted reductions – and even those predictions have proven to be not pessimistic enough – any upticks are good news.

That doesn’t mean the Friday forecast will predict a bunch more

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State forecaster has some good news

After being introduced Monday as “Dr. Doom,” the state’s economic and revenue forecaster said he didn’t think the title was deserved.

At least not after reporting that state tax collections for the months of October and November were higher than expected by $51.8 million.

When the current budget deficit is $2.6 billion, that might not seem like much. But Arun Raha, the executive director Economic and Revenue Forecast Council, said it is better than the past trend of declines.

“I’ll take five bucks right now,” Raha joked after testifying to the Senate Economic Development, Trade and Innovation Committee. He

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