The first revenue forecast for the state’s new current fiscal year sees projected tax collections slightly higher than was projected by the June report.

Washington State Economic and Revenue Forecast Council members meeting in Olympia this morning saw that General Fund-State collection expectations increased by $279 million due to forecast changes.

Through actions in three legislative sessions earlier this year, $2.1 billion was added from an increase in the state property tax levy for basic education, extending sales and B&O taxes to some online sales and repealing the sales tax exemption for bottled water.

The Governor’s Council of Economic Advisors adopted a slightly more conservative estimate that the Baseline calculations at $42.988 billion over the two-year budget cycle.

The most recent three months of state employment data has roughly confirmed June’s forecast for jobs. Across Washington, the economists expect job numbers to grow by 2.9 percent this year, then slack back to an average 1.6 percent annual increase in 2018 through 2021. 

Among the factors that influence a brighter economic forecast for the state is a population growth trend over the past seven years. U.S. population has grown 5.2 percent, while Washington state population has increased 9.7 percent.