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Increase long time coming
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State revenues took a jump in one of the two months normally associated with the Christmas buying season, gaining 10.9 percent over December 2009 for a total for the month of $1.55 billion, or up $152.8 million. Don’t remember a month anywhere near this increase for at least the past two years when virtually every month was under the same month a year before. Later in the column, we will try to put this six-month trend in perspective, but December certainly topped any expectations.  
Individual income taxes (includes small businesses) came in at a 7.7 percent increase, or up $60.2 million for a total of $856.7 million. That amount might just be the best December income tax collection month in five years.
Overall state sales tax collections were up by the same amount, 7.7 percent, with collections of $26.6 million for a total of $374.1 million.
December in sales tax collections tracked last year similar to other months this fiscal year … up over last year but under more normal years.
Since sales tax collections trail a month behind, these numbers are really November’s sales taxes and December’s will come in the January report.
Motor fuel tax collections were up a total of 13.9 percent or $8.9 million. Both categories were up in December.
Corporate income taxes were up $46.2 million. A better gauge will be the six-month figure we will review later. 
In other categories, tobacco collections were up 0.2 percent and alcoholic beverages were up 11.6 percent.

Year to date numbers looking stronger
With six months of the FY2011 in the books, the trend is certainly positive. Total revenues are $7.8 billion or an increase of $587.7 million over the FY2010 year; however, we must keep in mind the affects of the refunds paid out early a year ago. So the 8.1 percent gain is probably on the high side, but even if we deducted the $160 million in refunds from a year ago, the difference is still a growth rate of over 5 percent.
Individual income tax collections are up 7.9 percent, or up $300.8 million, for a total of $4.1 billion. Sales tax collections are up 6.5 percent, or $151 million, for a total of $2.4 billion. Motor fuel taxes are up 17.2 percent YTD. Total collections have increased $69.1 million and are on track to reach $940 million for the year. Corporate income taxes are flat for the six months at minus 0.9 percent. Tobacco tax collections are off by -2.7 percent YTD and alcoholic beverages are up slightly at 0.7 percent.
Looking back at FY10 months January through June, it appears that it will be difficult to maintain the level of increase the rest of FY11. The last six months a year ago started the trend that resulted in the positive revenue numbers this past June.

Last quarter – Solid growth, probably not sustainable
The last three months provide a “clean” quarter unaffected by any issues from one year ago. The good news is that the second quarter of FY11 shows an increase of a little over 8 percent. The two largest categories, individual income taxes and sales taxes, show slightly under 6 percent for the quarter. Looking at the last six months of FY10, we realize that numbers started to creep up a year ago before turning positive in June. These increases, 5.7 percent to 5.9 percent, look realistic even if a good January starts off the second half of the fiscal year. Don’t count chickens before the integrator picks them up, but regardless, a 5.7 percent increase would certainly be a good kick-off for the FY12 budget year.

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