This morning the Economic & Revenue Forecast Council (ERFC) forecast that revenue collections for the 2019–21 state budget increased by $634 million and by $328 million for the 2021-2023 biennium from the estimated numbers in the September revenue forecast. This reduces the budget deficit for current 2019-2021 biennium to $466 million and the estimated revenue deficit for the upcoming 2021-23 biennium to $1.9 billion. Among the reasons for the improvement are continuation of a strong real estate market, and stronger than expected retail sales supported by federal relief spending.
Despite this positive news, there is much uncertainty regarding the forecast for the future, including whether there will be additional federal stimulus funding, the timing and impact of COVID vaccine, and the duration and impact of recently announced COVID emergency related restrictions. We anticipate legislators will still have a difficult task in the upcoming session, where significant cuts and/or additional revenue increases may be needed to balance the budget. (Andrew Busz, firstname.lastname@example.org)