The House and Senate Revenue Committees met jointly this morning to give our 4th quarter revenue forecast for the state. This forecast is the baseline for which the legislature will consider making budgetary decisions for our upcoming 21’-23’ biennium. Since the September forecast, assumptions made are tracking very closely to projections. In the near-term, there are both positives and negatives that may end up offsetting each other. On one hand, COVID cases are rising more than projections, however it now appears a vaccine is much closer than originally thought. Some earlier assumptions were a vaccine would not be widely available until late summer 2021, and now it seems likely that timeline may be moved up to early 2021. In addition, while it isn’t a certainty, it appears probable that there will be another federal aid package in the Q1 2021 to help offset further economic damage.
To summarize, our economic outlook is relatively flat and slightly to the upside since the September 2020 forecast. In total the forecast shows we are up a total of $80.3 million in General Fund from the last forecast. This includes an increase in the forecast of $17.2 million in lottery dollars. When all is said and done, this means that our projected ending fund balance is up roughly $1.3B since 2019 close of session estimates (general fund dollars are up $571 million since close of session) and the Rainy Day Fund is projected to receive about $218 million following the 19’-21’ biennium. Though these numbers are better than what was initially projected at the beginning of the COVID crisis, they are is still down overall from where we were during February Session earlier this year. It’s important to remember these numbers are “best guesses” and it is likely the numbers will be different when the next forecast is given in Q1 next year.
The Speaker has called for a December Special Session to spend about $100 million focused on keeping people housed and to stabilize the rental market. It is too early to tell if or when this will happen.
Two is the start of the Governor’s two week freeze on businesses, etc. Here is a link to the executive order: here
Also, for those who are interested and have not heard, the Attorney General has decided to not introduce broad privacy legislation in 2021 and will instead focus on privacy directly related to contact tracing. The broader legislation will continue to be fine tuned for the 2022 session.
Here are some upcoming dates to keep track of:
- December 7 LC Draft Return Deadline
- December 7-11th Legislative Days Senate Committees and Joint Transportation meet
- December 15-18th Legislative Days House Committees and Joint I-5 Bridge Committee meet
- December 21st Pre-Session Filing Deadline The Parliamentarians are working on an electronic process to sign bill backs. They will provide more information shortly.
- January 11th Organizational Days
- January 19th First Day of Session