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Revenues continue upswing
Sen. Jack Hill

August state revenues gained 3.5 percent, following July’s gain of 5.5 percent, resulting in a two-month gain of 4.5 percent. August revenues totaled $1.39 billion, with a gain of $47 million. Revenues needed to grow $43 million for the month to meet budget, so there’s about a 10 percent overage.

Individual income taxes were essentially flat, dropping one-tenth of a percent to a 2.1 percent gain or only $14.4 million on total income tax revenues of $713.9 million. Within that category, individual withholding tax collections were up $28.7 million, while refunds were up about half that amount, $14.7 million.

Sales taxes, now matching like months with tag/title fee removed, have started showing an increase. In August, net state sales taxes grew $34.2 million or 8.4 percent, on revenues of $442.1 million.

Motor fuel revenues returned to positive territory, showing a combined gain of 3 percent on collections of $85 million. Both motor fuel sales taxes and excise taxes grew, at 2.7 percent and 3.4 percent, respectively.

Corporate income taxes slipped in the second month of the quarter, showing a negative 13 percent on revenues of only $13.3 million. Within that category, refunds were up $10.9 million, about the same as the increase for estimated payments, $11 million.

Tobacco and alcoholic revenues were up and down, at 3.2 percent and plus 3.2 percent, respectively.

Motor vehicle tag and title fees kept increasing, even though those were being reported the same way a year ago. Tag/title revenues rose $8.6 million, or 9.9 percent, on total fees of $95.7 million for the month.

Other fees and taxes, deposited but not processed, were negative in August by $10.7 million.

After two months, some trends appear, but a good start
Maybe two months in the doldrums of summer are not much of a sign so far, but two months is two-thirds of a quarter and we should be aware of these year-to-date totals.

Total state revenues show $2.88 billion so far, with a gain after only two months of $125 million. This is about $38 million over the budgeted amount needed so far, so although early in the year, the state is ahead of forecast and current spending.  That gain, percentage-wise, shows 4.5 percent, a relatively healthy number.

Individual income taxes, half of state revenue, has slipped YTD to only a 1.8 percent increase on revenues of $1.48 billion, with only a $25.6 million gain.

Sales taxes, about one-third of revenues, continue to show positive gains, some $59.6 million YTD, or a 7.1 percent gain on net sales tax collections of $897.6 million.

Motor fuel tax collections, which are designated for transportation, have totaled $169.5 million YTD, but are negative for the two months at -0.9 percent.

Corporate income taxes are positive after two months, up $10.4 million or 35.7 percent. Tobacco tax collections are negative at -3.7 percent, with alcoholic beverages are positive at 4.7 percent YTD.

Tag/title fees continue to show a gain, up YTD $21.8 million or 12.8 percent. Other fees and taxes add another $9.4 million to total revenues but were unprocessed.

There is nothing more important than meeting the targets month by month set by the budget the state is expending. The good news is that the state is growing ahead of the amount needed to fund the budget and shows a healthy overage of $38 million.

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