Budget writers got good news today in the form of a revised revenue forecast that shows Washington state will collect an extra $231 million dollars in revenue over the next two years.
Republican budget writer Sen. Andy Hill said that number should be enough to “break one of the final logjams” in budget negotiations.
Legislators have been locked in a stalemate over the budget, and a partial government shutdown could occur next month if they can’t come to an agreement.
Hill said the uptick in revenue — combined with expected savings — is enough to close the budget deficit, put $1 billion into public schools, cut tuition and protect the state’s social services.
Democratic budget writer Rep. Ross Hunter said the additional revenue “closes the gap a little bit” and he expects budget negotiations to end soon.
“We’re lucky it’s up rather than down,” Hunter said.
Not everyone is as optimistic. House Majority Leader Pat Sullivan said in a press release that it “doesn’t solve all our budget problems,” and won’t be enough to fully fund education as mandated by the McCleary decision.
“We’ve been prevented from taking even small steps toward closing outdated tax exemptions and redirecting resources toward schools….so, while today’s forecast may get us closer to a go-home budget, we can’t pretend we’ve solved the long-term problem,” Sullivan said.
The state government can expect to collect $33.7 billion dollars in tax revenue in the next two-year budget cycle that begins July 1, which is $121 million more than previously expected. The state will also collect an extra $110 million dollars in the current budget cycle.
Watch the meeting of the Economic Revenue and Forecast Council below.
The Senate Majority Coalition also called a press conference about the numbers. You can watch it here.