The revenue forecast released by the Washington State Economic and Review Forecast Council on November 18 indicated short term revenue increases, but a cautious longer range outlook. The forecast, including unofficial optimistic and pessimistic scenarios, will be considered by legislators as they develop the 2023-2025 biennial budgets during the upcoming legislative session.
WSHA will advocate strongly during the upcoming legislative session for the legislature to increase Medicaid payments, as well as making improvements to the long-term care system to help hospitals discharge patients who no longer need hospital services. Most hospitals in Washington State have not had an increase from Medicaid in more than 20 years. During that time, expenses to care for patients have increased significantly, such as wages, supplies, and pharmaceuticals. In December, the WSHA board will finalize the 2023 legislative agenda.
The forecast estimates revenue will increase by $762 million for the remainder of the 2021-23 biennium and by $681 million for the 2023-25 biennium from what was previously forecast. Reasons for the change for the current biennium include robust truck sales and a larger than estimated business and occupation tax base. The longer-term projection is tempered by concerns about the impact of continued inflation, expected increases to interest rates, and reductions to housing construction and home prices. (Andrew Busz, email@example.com)