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Economy, Business, Finance, and Labor
Dispatches from public radio's correspondent at the Washington Legislature. Austin Jenkins is the Olympia correspondent for the Northwest News Network. You can also see Austin on television as host of TVW's (the C–SPAN of Washington State) weekly public affairs program "Inside Olympia."

Washington Economic Recovery Hits Milestone

OLYMPIA, Wash. – If you’re marking milestones in the slow climb out of the Great Recession, here’s a new one: Washington state tax collections have now recovered to pre-recession levels. That was one key takeaway from Wednesday’s quarterly revenue forecast.

In late 2007, the economy went into free fall. For two years, Washington tax revenues plunged. Since 2010 it’s been a slow, steady climb back up. Now tax collections are back to where they were before the economy tanked. Bright spots include an uptick in auto sales and signs of an improving housing market.

But Washington revenue forecaster Steve Lerch says consumers are still in a sour mood.

“Really consumer confidence is not as strong as we’d like to see it or expect to see it this far along in a so-called recovery from a recession.”

Even so, Lerch says pent up consumer demand for things like cars may be overriding low consumer confidence. Looking into the future, he says the biggest threats to the recovery are partisan gridlock in Washington, D.C. and the ongoing Eurozone crisis.

On the Web:

State Revenue Forecast - Washington Economic Revenue Forecast Council