Sen. Rolfes: Revenue forecast is positive sign for state’s economy

Good news, but not great.

Sen. Christine Rolfes, D-Bainbridge Island, chair of the Senate Ways & Means Committee, greeted the revised estimate of revenue collections for the state’s Near General Fund with caution.

According to estimates released Wednesday by the Washington State Economic and Revenue Forecast Council, projected Near General Fund revenue collections for the 2019–21 state budget have increased by $606 million.

Total Near General Fund revenues are now projected at more than $52.3 billion for the current two-year state budget cycle, which began July 1. The state’s total reserves are now projected to be $4.1 billion at the end of the current biennium.

Rolfes released the following statement after the February revenue forecast was announced this week from the Washington State Office of Financial Management.­­:

“This is certainly good news and another sign of the strength of Washington’s economy, but we must continue to be cautious and embrace responsible fiscal policy as we continue to address our communities’ pressing needs. We are in the process of writing a smart, balanced budget that will leave historically strong reserves to guard against a future recession. This will enable us to maintain the gold-star rating our state earned last year from Moody’s for the first time in state history.

“While revenues are strong at the moment, we shouldn’t mistake the prosperity at the top for a thriving middle class. Many, many families and seniors living on fixed incomes across our state are still recovering from the Great Recession and we are still rebuilding public services that were decimated. We see these needs on our streets in one community after another.

“I look forward to finishing our budget proposal in the coming days and keeping our commitment to support affordable housing, college affordability, behavioral health, infrastructure and our environment,” Rolfes said.

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