VANCOUVER… The state’s chief economist is predicting another significant jump in state-government revenue, as Washington’s economy continues to recover from pandemic-related restrictions. The year’s second quarterly revenue forecast, issued today, indicates a gain of $2.2 billion through the 2021-23 budget cycle and more than $3.5 billion over the state’s four-year budget outlook.
Sen. Lynda Wilson, Republican leader on the Senate Ways and Means Committee and a member of the state Economic Revenue and Forecast Council, offered this statement about the June 2021 forecast.
“What a difference a year makes. The June 2020 forecast indicated there would be a budget deficit in excess of 9 billion dollars, due to restrictions on the economy. The governor was preparing to slash every program under his control by 15 percent, even health care and social services, no matter who would be hurt. He was rejecting Republican requests for a special session to protect vital programs by pulling back on new and non-essential spending commitments. A year later, the governor is open to calling a special session, and for what? To raise the gas tax!
“When the March forecast came out, Republicans said there was absolutely no need for more taxes, based on the new revenue projections and all the federal stimulus money coming in. The majority Democrats didn’t listen to us, or to the people of the state. They went ahead with an unconstitutional state income tax and climate policies that amount to regressive new taxes. Republicans showed how to reduce property taxes, jump-start our manufacturing sector and establish a new source of transportation funding, all within the revenue available. Our proposals were ignored, but in light of this new forecast, they deserve serious consideration.
“If the Legislature is going to have a special session this year, let’s make it about easing the tax burden on families, workers and employers, instead of adding to the string of majority tax increases.”