Politics & Government

State revenues dip another $23.9 million

The latest revenue collections report was released last evening by state revenue forecasters, and it shows tax collections are up from a year ago. It also outlines a brightening picture on the jobs front.

But the state's collections from major general-fund sources for the July 11 to Aug. 10 period were $23.9 million less than predicted in the June forecast. This comes at a time the state has dodged a major budget bullet and is expecting to receive $543 million in federal aid for medical and education programs.

Here is the 10-page report from Arun Raha of the Economic and Revenue Forecast Council. It says the year-to-year collections were actually up by 4.6 percent for the period.

The collections were based mainly on June activity. The new report says that the state’s net drop in expected revenues is now a cumulative $124.5 million, or 5.4 percent, from what Raha predicted in June for the remainder of the 2010-11 budget cycle.

The report notes there also was a $10 million drop in cigarette tax receipts, but it is too early to say if that is tied to higher taxes that took effect this spring. Liquor tax receipts were up by $223,000.

The report says Washington's job growth continues in the private sector, including 4,500 new private-sector jobs in June. But that gain was offset by losses in public-sector jobs in June, including "a surprising 3,100 jobs" lost in the state and local government sectors. That net loss of jobs in June also reflected the Census Bureau's reduction of 4,500 temporary jobs, although the outlook is better looking ahead.

"The Washington economy has now added 20,100 private sector jobs in the first 6 months of the year, an average of just more than 3,000 per month," Raha wrote. "The job gains have been relatively widespread with only financial activities and ‘other services' showing declines. Even the construction sector has added 900 jobs since the end of last year. The state's unemployment rate fell to 8.9% in June from 9.2% in May. Now that we are past the lull in May, we expect a moderate jobs recovery to continue."