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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 Revenues Show Slow And Steady Recovery

Slow and steady. That’s how Washington’s chief economic forecaster sums up the recovery in state revenues.

The new forecast released Wednesday projects Washington will collect an additional $345 million over the next two years. About a third of that is because of changes in state tax law.

The rest, Chief Economist Steve Lerch attributes to factors like: a 17-percent year-over-year increase in auto sales.

“If you drive around you see a lot of temporary license plates in windows, there are a lot of people out buying cars," Lerch explains. "That is good news. That has a big, positive impact on general fund revenues.”

But Lerch cautions there are significant downside risks to his new forecast. At the top of that list: what happens in Washington, DC in terms of the potential for a government shutdown if Congress can’t agree on a budget.

On the Web:

Washington Revenue Forecast - Economic and Revenue Forecast Council 

Since January 2004, Austin Jenkins has been the Olympia-based political reporter for the Northwest News Network. In that position, Austin covers Northwest politics and public policy, as well as the Washington State Legislature. You can also see Austin on television as host of TVW's (the C–SPAN of Washington State) Emmy-nominated public affairs program "Inside Olympia."