State Budget Surplus Projected at First Revenue Estimating Conference of the Year
Friday, January 17, 2014
Twice a year (in January and May) the House Fiscal Agency, the Senate
Fiscal Agency, and the State Treasurer hold "revenue estimating
conferences” to reach consensus on the revenue numbers on which budgets
have been and will be developed. At the January meeting, agreement is
reached on any revenues/losses that will be carried forward from the
previous year, an update is given on the current year’s revenue, and
projections are made for the following year’s budget. Soon after the
January meeting, the Governor presents his budget based upon these
numbers, and for the next four months both Houses develop their budget
toward the goal of finalizing a state budget by June 1. The May
revenue estimating conference is simply a double check before final
passage to assure the January estimates are still accurate.
January 10, 2014, the first revenue estimating conference related to the
Fiscal Year (FY) 2015 budget was held. The good news is that all
forecasts project the state economy will improve over the next 18
months. In regards to the FY 2014 budget, General Fund (GF) revenue is
projected at $9.573 billion, up $126 million from the estimate agreed to
at the May 2013 revenue conference. Net FY 2014 School Aid Fund (SAF)
revenue is now estimated at $11.560 billion, up $90 million from May.
Combined, GF and SAF estimates are up $216 million for FY 2014. Net
GF-GP (General Purpose) revenue for FY 2015 is now forecasted at $10.047
billion, up $206 million from the May estimate, while the FY 2015 SAF
revenue estimate has been revised, up $119 million to an estimated
$11.932 billion. Between the carry forward from FY 2013, the increase
revenue projections for FY 2014, and the anticipated revenues for FY
2015, a revenue surplus is projected at $971 million.
Debates will now
begin as to how to handle this surplus. That topic will take up much of
the budget discussions over the next four months.