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Revenues show gains
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State revenues for November increased by 6.7 percent continuing the gradual improvement begun in July. The increase of $79.6 million totaled $1.26 billion for the month. 
Individual income taxes, consisting of both small business and individual income taxes, led the way with a 6.5 percent increase, or some $40 million, for a total of $661.8 million.  Sales tax collections were weak, growing at only 1.4 percent, or only $5.4 million, for a total of $394 million for the month.
Motor fuel taxes totaled $78.5 million for the month, up 12.5 percent. Excise taxes, by the gallon, were down, -1.1 percent and motor fuel sales taxes were up, 29.7 percent.
Corporate income taxes tripled for the month to $6.4 million, up 175 percent. These numbers fluctuate quarterly, but this is certainly a good sign.
Tobacco taxes were up marginally at 0.3 percent and alcoholic beverage taxes were slightly down at -1.3 percent.
“Other Revenue” is described by the Department of Revenue as including items and fees that are received and deposited in the bank but the returns are as yet not processed and also may include unclaimed property collections. That category totaled $57.7 million for the month.
This month has been described by some budget analysts as the first “clean” month from which to compare a month this year to the same month last year and get a clear picture as to the real change. A year ago, issues such as late income tax refunds and sales tax collection nuances caused this years numbers at the first of the fiscal year to be somewhat skewed. November, though, is a truer picture of improvement, which means a 6.7 percent increase is very positive.

Year to date revenue picture is encouraging
Cumulatively, subject to the caveat in the preceding paragraph, state revenues show an encouraging increase of 7.4 percent or $434.8 million for total collections of $6.28 billion for the first five months of FY 2011.
Individual income taxes are clearly improving as the best of the two main categories at 7.8 percent for the year, up $234.9 million, for a total of $3.24 billion.
State sales tax distribution shows a 6.3 percent increase YTD, totaling $3.24 billion for the year.
Motor fuel tax collections are encouraging, showing an increase of 17.9 percent, or up $60 million for a cumulative total for the year of $397.1 million. Both fuel taxes levied by the gallon and on sales are up for the year.
Corporate income taxes YTD are actually down after five months at -30.2 percent, or down -$50.8 million.
Other categories down for the year include tobacco at -3.3 percent and alcohol beverages at -1.3 percent. The “Other Revenue” category totals $113.4 million for the year.
So, if Christmas sales hold up and consumers continue to show confidence, then this modest increase curve may continue to move in the right direction. Economists may be exhibiting tendencies of cautiousness opposite from the incorrect projections last year where they predicted improvement when the economy was still in a freefall. 
Cumulatively, the state is approximately $130 million ahead of the budgeted tax revenue, but other categories, such as super speeder revenues, may be showing a shortfall that would reduce the surplus.

It’s not too late to submit your “Reasons to be Optimistic About 2011.”
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