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Solid growth in first-quarter revenues
Hill Jack
Sen. Jack Hill

September completes the first quarter of the 2015 fiscal year. A solid 5 percent growth in September revenues completes a strong first quarter of FY15 with an overgrowth of 4.7 percent on total collections of $4.68 billion for the quarter. The increase of $211.3 million for the three months is ahead of budget projections by $70.6 million.

September revenues total $1.808 billion
September’s 5 percent growth rate featured an encouraging increase in individual income taxes of $64.3 million with a very positive 7.3 percent growth rate. At $949.9 million, individual income taxes made a strong showing this month. Withholding taxes were up $44 million or 6.1 percent.  Estimated income taxes were up $13.7 million, or 9.2 percent. Refunds in income taxes were down 7.1 percent, or -$2.5 million.

Net sales tax collections continued to show positive growth for the state with a monthly increase of 5.7 percent, or $24.1 million, on revenues of $445.6 million.

Motor fuel taxes slipped to a net -6.9 percent on combined motor fuel tax collections of $84.9 million. Both excise taxes and sales taxes were negative at -2.9 percent and -9.8 percent, respectively. Corporate income taxes increased 2.7 percent on collections of $184.6 million. Estimated payments were up $13.2 million, or 8.5 percent, and refunds were also up 104.7 percent, or $8 million.

Tobacco taxes and alcoholic beverages taxes were down 4.8 percent and positive 3.9 percent, respectively.

Title/tag fee collections were somewhat flat with a 0.7 percent increase on fees totaling $98.9 million.

Year-to-date numbers reflect strong quarter
The first three months of FY15 brought in $2.433 billion in individual income taxes, a growth rate of 3.8 percent. Net sales taxes to the state totaled $1.343 billion and grew at a 6.7 percent rate, continuing a positive trend.

Motor fuel taxes showed a net decrease of 3 percent for the quarter with excise taxes down 0.9 percent and sales taxes down 4.7 percent. So far that category has taken in $254.5 million for roads and bridges of the state.

Corporate income taxes continued a positive run, showing a 7.4 percent increase, or $15.4 million on revenues of $224.4 million for the quarter.

Tobacco taxes were down 4 pecent for the quarter and alcoholic beverage sales taxes were up for a 4.4 percent gain, I guess reflecting the beginning of football season!

Year to date tag/title fees have increased $22.5 million or 8.4 percent for the quarter.

How the increase for the first quarter breaks down
The $211.3 million revenue increase for the first quarter shows how the major collection areas contributed to the total:

Category                           Percent increase
Individual income tax              42.5
Net sales taxes                       39.6
Corporate taxes                       7.2
Tag/title fee                            10.6

A look at some sales tax categories year-to-date/first quarter
One of the positives so far this fiscal year has been the return of steady growth of net sales tax revenues, up 6.7 percent. Maybe it is a good time to look within that category and identify the sales tax increases on specific areas.

First, only two categories are actually down for the first three months: car and automotive, -0.7 percent, and motor fuel tax at -4.7 percent.

In descending order, here are the other categories: Construction up 40.2 percent, accommodations 14.3 percent, manufacturing 11.7 percent, wholesale trade 8.4 percent, utilities/energy 7.5 percent, retail 6.8 percent, food-bar-store 6.3 percent, home furnishing 5.1 percent, miscellaneous services 3.3 percent and general merchandise 2.8 percent. So virtually every category had a very positive increase year to date.

Outside of motor fuel, generally the totals for the first quarter are strong and the state is meeting the FY15 budget very satisfactorily.

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