With just one more day in the second special legislative session, budget negotiating lawmakers received their final official forecast for expected revenues this morning.
The report to Washington State Economic and Revenue Forecast Council projected an additional $81 million for the current biennium and $87 million more than previously calculated for the next two-year budget cycle to cove 2017-2019.
Positive numbers, to be sure, but nowhere near enough to resolve the funding gap remaining to fully-fund K-12 Public Education and other spending on the negotiating plate.
Steve Lerch, executive director of ERFS told the Council this morning that average weekly wages grew faster in this state than in the U.S. through 2016. Personal income, on the other hand, is slightly lower this month compared to in March.
The official forecast also notes a growing level of uncertainty in the baseline forecasts, with downside risks outweighing upside risks both nationally and within the state.
Washington car and truck sales declined in April after an uptick in March. Housing construction came down to earth in the first quarter of this year, after a fourth quarter 2016 spike. Exports from the state were down 5.5 percent from the first three months in 2016, though shipments of agricultural products increased 14 percent over the year, and exports of all other commodities rose 4.3 percent over the year for the first increase in this category (of mostly manufactured goods) in nearly three years.
Odds are, there will be a flurry of legislative activity into this evening and tomorrow, if there is any chance of reaching a budget agreement without there being a third special session. Stay tuned.
You can review the entire Forecast report as delivered this morning at this link.