State revenue forecast remains steady

OLYMPIA — Washington state’s revenue outlook is holding steady as economists expect a continued trend of slow economic growth.

An updated forecast released Wednesday shows lawmakers may have $25 million more available to them. It’s a small amount for a state in which the two-year budget cycle is expected to collect some $33 billion for the general fund.

Steve Lerch, executive director of the Economic and Revenue Forecast Council, said there are a variety of risks in the projections, including a slowing Chinese economy, European economic problems and the potential for a slowing U.S. housing recovery.

“Slow economic growth continues to be the primary trend in this forecast update,” said Steve Lerch, executive director of the Economic and Revenue Forecast Council.

Democratic Sen. Jim Hargrove asked about the impact of Boeing potentially deciding to build its new 777X airplane in another state. Lerch said his forecasts don’t account for that as the projections only go out through 2017. Boeing’s production on the new jet is expected to begin later.

However, State Treasurer Jim McIntire said it will raise borrowing costs for the state.

“It could be several hundred million dollars,” McIntire said.

Gov. Jay Inslee is preparing a supplemental budget proposal to be released next month. Lawmakers will return to Olympia in January.

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