Hawkins encouraged by improved state revenue forecast

State Sen. Brad Hawkins is encouraged by the state’s updated revenue projection released today by the Washington State Economic and Revenue Forecast Council.

The council’s November revenue forecast estimates revenue for the upcoming state budget cycle. The outlook was adjusted up with an increase of $634 million for the current 2019-2021 biennium and an increase of $328 million for the 2021-2023 biennium.

“This continues to be encouraging news,” Hawkins said. “While the forecast doesn’t take into account any potential economic impacts from Governor Inslee’s most recent COVID restrictions, it does demonstrate to lawmakers that balancing the upcoming budget without tax increases is certainly possible.”

State economists are forecasting a projected budget deficit of nearly $3 billion over the next four years. Hawkins points out that the current balance of the state’s Budget Stabilization Account, often referred to as the “rainy day fund,” is healthy $2 billion.

“As bad as the COVID pandemic has been, this forecast shows that our state can achieve a balanced budget for the next two years without tax increases by utilizing our rainy day fund and making some modest and measured reductions in programs,” Hawkins said.

“This needs to be said so that if and when new taxes are proposed, people don’t mistakenly think they are necessary to balance our budget,” Hawkins added. “I personally think – after all that people and businesses have endured – that tax increases are the last thing lawmakers should be considering in the coming years.”

The next state revenue forecast will be issued in March 2021.