After several cycles of increasing revenue forecasts, state legislators got the news this week that the state’s revenue forecast declined slightly for this year and more significantly for the coming biennium. This news comes as budget writers are working to craft their supplemental budget proposals. The budget downfall was attributed to weak economic growth, both globally and nationally, and a decline in exports from Washington State.
The forecast for the current year — part of a two-year, $38 billion budget — declined by $67 million. The legislature is required to enact a budget that, if carried forward, will be balanced in the next biennium. Revenues for the next two-year budget are forecasted to decline by $442 million.
The supplemental budget is meant to address emerging needs, such as last summer’s wildfires and the rising costs of prescription drugs. Mental health continues to be WSHA’s top priority, and we will continue to advocate for modest but important increases in mental health funding and to advocate against any cuts to hospitals and health care in the state budget. Our mental health funding priorities are to expand access to mental health providers through student loan repayment and to increase capital funds for mental health facilities.