Revenue forecast up, budgets to be released this week
Prepared by Marie Sullivan, WSPTA Legislative Consultant, firstname.lastname@example.org
As anticipated, the March 17 revenue forecast presented by state chief economist Steve Lerch was positive – for the 2019-21 biennium, the forecast was increased by $1.34 billion and for the 2021-23 biennium it increased by nearly $1.95 billion. This is a dramatic turnaround from the June 2020 forecast, which projected a $9 billion deficit for fiscal years 2021, 2022, and 2023.
According to Lerch, the positives include two stimulus bills passed; faster than expected vaccine distribution; stronger than expected retail sales; and a super-hot housing market. To the negative, however, Lerch shared that employment growth has been slower than expected; business remains weak for restaurants, bars, arts and entertainment, and travel-related businesses; and rising oil and gas prices may hamper growth.
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