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Tax revenue up $345 million, but wheat exports down after GMO discovery

September 25, 2013 J

Economic figures released today show that Washington state is on a slow path to economic recovery, with strong growth in retail sales, construction activity and car sales.

Overall, the state is on track to collect $345 million more in tax revenue in the current two-year budget cycle than forecasted in June. Of that $345 million, a significant chunk comes from legislation approved during last session.

A telephone tax increased revenue by $110 million, and the state netted another $34 million by redirecting liquor taxes away from local governments and into the state general fund.

Chief economist Stephen Lerch said that after accounting for the legislation, the forecast changes are “not all that big.” Lerch presented the quarterly revenue forecast on Wednesday during a meeting of the Economic and Revenue Forecast Council.

Washington state saw a drop in wheat exports following the discovery of GMO wheat in a field in Oregon last spring, Lerch said. Japan and Korea suspended wheat purchases for several months as federal inspectors examined the herbicide-resistant plants, which were never approved for production.

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