Washington's top economic forecaster Steve Lerch says the recovering economy and tax changes approved by the Legislature are expected to generate $368 million more revenue for state operations through mid-2015 than was expected in June when lawmakers finished their two-year budget.
That figure includes $123 million that is resulting from non-economic factors such as legislative action. It also includes $23 million more than expected through June this year.
Before adjourning on June 29, lawmakers authorized about a dozen changes in tax law including numerous new tax breaks and reforms to telecommunications and estate taxes.
Lerch is outlining his full forecast during a meeting of the Economic and Revenue Forecast Council this morning. His report is posted on the council's web site - here.
His quarterly forecast also predicts a brighter outlook than in June for the next biennium, showing $342 million more in new revenue. But again, $249 million of that is due to legislative and other non-economic impacts.
Before going into the report, the Council's members went into executive session briefly to evaluate the work of Lerch, the executive director.
In a prepared statement, Lerch said: "There has been little dramatic change in the economy since our last forecast and we continue to expect a slowly improving economy ... While we still anticipate an expanding housing market, higher mortgage rates and home prices will slow activity relative to our June forecast.''
State budget director David Schumacher said in a statement: "The forecast confirms what we've expected. ... The economy continues its steady, but slow improvement and the revenue picture reflects that modest growth.''