If you had been studying the state revenue trend lines for the last two fiscal years you realized what a high revenue series of months, May and June of FY07 coupled with July of FY08 were. July a year ago jumped over 10 percent above the previous year. So, the first month of the 2009 fiscal year had a high hurdle and could not get there.
July’s revenues came in at $1.213 billion, which were 6.6 percent under the July ’07 figures. While this is certainly not the news we might have hoped for, realistically, nobody could have expected much different. This decrease amounts to $86,391,000.
The Senate Budget Office has produced a set of calculations that shows we are in pretty good shape taking in $1.213 billion for July. Basically as a percentage of the year’s budget July usually takes in, the $1.213 billion collection is pretty close to the number needed.
There is little good news inside the numbers for the month, but as some folks say, you can’t tell much by one month. The weakness by individual income tax is shown by the fact that as a percentage of the total revenue for the month, individual income tax is only 46.9 percent where it usually accounts for 50 percent or more of revenues.
Sales tax collections were down a net figure of $27 million or -5.3 percent for the month. Local sales tax distribution continued positive going up by $22.6 million. Again, local governments receive sales taxes from food sales and the state does not, so rising food prices favor local tax collections.
Motor fuel taxes continued the trend of last fiscal year. Excise taxes, collected by the gallon, were down by $3.6 million or -9.1 percent as the high cost of fuel continued to reduce driving and per gallon sales. Sales tax collections on fuel rose $3.4 million or 8.9 percent, so the two just about net out. Unfortunately this is below the estimate needed to fund the commitment to DOT for the year.
Corporate tax collections continued a slide over the last 12 months, falling by $20.5 million or -62.2 percent. Again, one month is not telling for these type collections, but the trend is troublesome; revenues have been negative every month but one since last November. Corporate tax returns were down $3 million, or -46.3 percent, and net corporate refunds were up $10 million.
All of the smaller categories of tax collections were negative as well.
Inside sales tax categories
Sales tax categories continued to be negative compared to a year ago and some were double digit decreases. Utilities were up 22.4 percent, probably the result of rate increases and the weather. All categories of sales tax collections were down including food which dropped 21.5 percent, amazing considering the documented increases in many food basics. Double digit decreases showed in automotive, -11.5 percent and lumber, -13.5 percent. Other negatives included apparel at -4.4 percent, general merchandise at -5.5 percent and miscellaneous services -8.6 percent. Manufacturing may be a bright note at just about flat for the month, -0.1 percent.
Again, the one positive was that the state took in $1.2 billion in July as we move toward a downward revised estimate of $17.292 billion for the 2009 fiscal year. Although the months swing up and down seasonally during the year, the state generally needs to average $1.44 billion a month to make the new revised budget.
There was a positive note, encouraging news from the Department of Economic Development last week as Commissioner Ken Stewart reported that the department helped gain 19,668 jobs in Georgia last fiscal year with $3.26 billion in new investment. He also reports that the film/movie tax credit is drawing interest and there is a double digit list of interested production companies planning to come to Georgia.
Going to freeze your credit score? Here’s the info you need:
You can now freeze your credit report under legislation passed this past session effective Aug. 1. Here are the addresses of the three credit reporting agencies.
Equifax Security Freeze, P.O. Box 105788, Atlanta, GA 30348, www.equifax.com, 1-800-685-1111
Experian Security Freeze, P.O. Box 9554, Allen, TX 75013, www.experian.com, 1-888-397-3742
TransUnion Fraud Victim Assistance Department, P.O. Box 6790, Fullerton, CA 92834, www.transunion.com, 1-888-909-8872
There are exceptions that you might want to read over. You can access the legislation, HB 130, at www.legis.state.ga.us.