Forecast says state revenues will likely remain stagnant

The state has released details concerning the latest Economic and Revenue Forecast Council meeting. According to Steve Lerch, the chief economist and executive director of the council, the predicted changes are “slight.”
In an e-mail sent to all staff and faculty of South Puget Sound Community College, President Gerald Pumphery stated that it may take some time for the budget to come into sharper focus. The information released so far is a prediction of what the new Governor’s budget proposal may look like. The state puts out an economic and revenue forecast to analyze the upcoming bienniums. The reports are used to ensure that the state is meeting its forecast.
Denise Graham, the Deputy Director of Finance for the Washington State Board of Community and Technical Colleges stated via e-mail that “The change in the revenue forecast is minimal: Up $8 million for the current biennium (for a total of $30.5 billion) and down $88 million for the 2013-15 biennium (for a total of $32.6 billion).” This means the state expects to see a slight increase in revenue over the next two years, but that the next biennium won’t be as good.
Issues in other countries impact our federal economy, which in turn affects the economy of each state. If the current economic situations in Europe and China do not improve, our own economy could grow weaker.
“The state set up a stabilization account to ensure that we do not run out of money. The current economic and revenue forecast is predicting that the state will have a negative ending balance of $349 million for the next biennium. There are some problems with the prediction though,” said an employee of the Department of Agriculture, who wished to remain unnamed.
The estimate is only accurate if the stabilization account is depleted. “Furthermore, that prediction does not take into account the constitutionally mandated funding for K-12 or the 3 percent pay cut that state employees recently saw,” she went on to say.
What this means for the faculty of SPSCC: If the state cannot get their $349 million back, educators and other state employees will not get back the three percent they gave up.
How it affects students: It is possible that the state will have to cut back on education if the economy does not improve. We may see more cuts in faculty, higher tuition rates, and more out-of-state students being accepted into local colleges.
“I would be unhappy to see another rise in tuition,” said student David Dahlberg. “I would also hate to see local students being turned away from SPSCC and other local colleges in favor of out of state students.”
President Gerald Pumphery said that there is no way of knowing how this will all turn out but “I earnestly hope that however the budget is resolved it does not result in higher tuition for our students.”