Last week's $182 million windfall from a tax amnesty program for businesses may be the only welcomed gift for budget writers at the Capitol. The latest revenue collections report from the Economic and Revenue Forecast Council is actually down slightly – once the amnesty cash is separated out.
Raha doesn't always do it but he just put out a press release on the monthly report, and it reeks of caution (and perhaps fear) with comments like these:
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Still feeling too upbeat? There’s more from that jokester Raha's news release that talks about the continuing threat of oil price shocks to the economy and fall-out from the earthquake in Japan that threatens trade with Washington’s No. 3 export market in the short term (gets more jolly longer term with reconstruction).
The bottom line:
As far as I've heard, the Legislature has not asked for an early revenue forecast report from Raha. But the tone and tenor of the collections report serves that purpose, and it suggests no new windfalls are in the offing if lawmakers are still paying with budget numbers when the formal June 16 forecast is rendered.
UPDATE 1: There's always an exception. Gregoire did say Tuesday there is about $20 million more in late tax-amnesty payments that came in above her estimate last week, on top of the $182 million windfall reported last week.
UPDATE 2: Thanks to Jason Mercier for noticing the Association of Washington Business' blog post on Raha talking today in Spokane to its members about the state’s slow emergence from the recession and Osama bin Laden's mortgage.