While Governor Jay Inslee has been spending his time crying wolf over our budget shortfalls, the Economic and Revenue Forecast Council has released a report that increases revenue projections by $406 million through next February. Washington State is projected to take in $3 billion more in revenue during the next budget cycle – but this is something Inslee would never want voters to find out, for fear it would ruin his plans to fund his special interest groups.
With the release of the revenue forecast, there are three major points to remember:
- Positive fiscal developments have exceeded $1 billion between now and the beginning of regular session – with nearly $500 million of that stemming from time spent in a special session.
- Federal reimbursements for children’s healthcare programs will add $115 million in revenue
- Lower February caseload forecasts will add $201 million in revenue
- The current budget is predicted to end with record reserves of $1.4 billion.
- Projected revenue growth for 2015-17 is $3.2 billion – a 9.2% increase.
It is important to note that while part of the revenue increase occurred because of Senator Rivers’ bill that fixed the medical marijuana market – there is expected to be growth in the hundreds of millions for the dedicated marijuana fund when moving forward.
The reserves from the 2013-15 budget cycle are projected to have $850 million in unrestricted funds and $511 in the rainy day fund.
Inslee wouldn’t want to share this information with voters – because he needs increased taxes to help reward special interest groups in the next budget cycle. Democrats want to add $1.5 billion in new taxes for the 2015-17 cycle for members in their special interest groups; including the Washington Education Association, the Washington Federation of State Employees, the Service Employees International Union and the Labor Education & Research Center.