Washington state revenues continue to rise above projections

“One of the things that the pandemic did was really alter patterns of consumption.”

By Rachel La Corte / Associated Press

OLYMPIA — An increase in sales tax revenue that came as people bought more durable goods during the COVID-19 pandemic led to another positive quarterly state revenue forecast Wednesday, with Washington’s economy projected to have about $2.6 billion more that previously assumed through mid-2023.

Updated numbers by the the Economic and Revenue Forecast Council show that projected revenue collections for the 2021-2023 budget cycle are nearly $1.8 billion above what had been originally forecasted in March. And projections for the current budget cycle that ends in a few weeks are now $838 million higher than expected.

Steve Lerch, the chief economist and executive director of the council, noted that since the last update there has been a continued drop in COVID cases, hospitalizations and deaths, increases in employment — both at the national and state level — and a strong residential real estate market.

Nearly a billion of the increase in revenue projection for 2021-2023 came from the sales tax, and Lerch pointed to a jump in people buying recreational goods — like bikes and exercise equipment— cars and other large big-ticket household items.

“One of the things that the pandemic did was really alter patterns of consumption,” he said.

Lerch said that there have been economic concerns since the March forecast, including the increase in inflation, new COVID variants and supply chain issues still being a factor in higher costs of goods.

But the state’s revenue projection through mid-2023 is back to where it was in pre-pandemic levels, a complete turnaround since last June, when numbers warned of a nearly $9 billion shortfall.

Revenues for the current budget cycle that ends mid-2021 are now projected to be $53.2 billion, with an ending balance of more than $3.8 billion, including reserves. And projected revenues for the next two-year budget cycle — which begins July 1 — are projected to be $58.4 billion.

The next state revenue forecast will be in September.

Talk to us

More in Northwest

King County Sheriff: Staff must work remotely amid violence

It is unsafe around the courthouse, parking garage, administrative building jail in downtown Seattle.

Lighting starts 9 small fires across North Central Washington

A second potentially dangerous weather system is moving into the region.

Washington Supreme Court to hear Seattle police public records case

The court will hear a case involving officers who were in Washington, D.C., during the Capitol riot.

Colvilles sue federal government over 2015 wildfire damage

The Tribes say parts of the reservation in northeastern Washington were turned into a “moonscape.”

Brewster farm to pay more than $2 million after COVID deaths

It’s one of the largest workplace safety and health fines in state history.

FILE - This Nov. 13, 2018 file photo a South Lake Union streetcar with an advertisement for Amazon.com's same-day delivery service passes by an Amazon office building in Seattle's South Lake Union neighborhood. Amazon has pushed back its return-to-office date for tech and corporate workers until January 2022 as COVID-19 cases surge nationally due to the delta variant. The Seattle Times reported on the tech giant's delay in returning to offices from internal messages. (AP Photo/Ted S. Warren,File)
Amazon pushes back return to office to January due to COVID

Amazon has pushed back its return-to-office date for workers until January as COVID-19 cases surge.

FILE - In this Feb. 1, 2019, file photo, Bill and Melinda French Gates pose together in Kirkland, Wash.  The divorce of Bill Gates and Melinda French Gates has been finalized. The Microsoft co-founder and his wife announced in May 2021 they were ending their 27-year marriage and on Monday, Aug. 2,  a King County Superior Court judge signed the dissolution decree. (AP Photo/Elaine Thompson, File)
Bill Gates and Melinda French Gates finalize their divorce

The two have said they will continue to work together as co-chairs of their foundation.

Washington hospitals ‘quite full’ amid surge in COVID-19 cases

The unvaccinated continue to make up nearly all of the new cases, hospitalizations and deaths.

Wildfire burning in North Cascades park near Canadian border

The Bear Creek Fire is estimated to have burned about 150 acres.

Most Read