DiNapoli Urges Caution As Budget Negotiations Continue
Collections Up, But Well Below Initial Projections
Tax collections through February were $172.1 million more than estimates from the updated state 2011-12 Financial Plan, according to the February monthly cash report released today by State Comptroller Thomas P. DiNapoli. Year-to-date growth of 6.4 percent is slightly more than the year-end growth of 6 percent projected in mid-February, but less than expected when the budget was passed a year ago.
"While it is encouraging that tax collections are currently ahead of projections, this does not mean that there will be additional funding for the 2012-2013 state budget," DiNapoli said. "The only reason collections are up is because projections were lowered twice since last March. We should continue to be cautious about revenue assumptions for the coming year."
In April 2011, the Division of the Budget (DOB) projected All Fund tax revenues at $64.97 billion. In November, DOB released a mid-year update of the state's financial plan and reduced All Funds tax projections by $473 million. In January, projections were increased by $29 million from the Mid-Year update, leaving a $444 million difference from initial assumptions. However, personal income tax projections were lowered by an additional $220 million from the Mid-Year update, even with projected additional revenue from tax actions in December.
Other findings from the February Cash Report include:
- General Fund receipts (including transfers from other funds) of $50.1 billion through the first 11 months were 6.6 percent, or $3.1 billion, higher than receipts from the same period last year. This was $129.1 million above updated Financial Plan projections primarily due to higher than anticipated personal income tax (PIT) collections.
- General Fund tax collections totaled $37.4 billion, an increase of $2.6 billion, or 7.3 percent, from last year for the same period. General Fund tax collections were $69.3 million above updated projections primarily due to higher personal income tax collections.
- General Fund PIT collections through February 29 totaled $24.2 billion, growing 9.9 percent, or $2.2 billion, from last year. Year-to-date PIT collections were $145.6 million higher than updated projections. Withholding collections grew 1.1 percent through the first 11 months, compared to the same period last year. Largely due to gains in tax settlements from 2010, year-to-date estimated payments grew 19.5 percent, or $1.9 billion. Year-to-date PIT refunds were $766.8 million lower than last year primarily because $500 million in refunds were moved from the final quarter of SFY 2009-10 into the first quarter of SFY 2010-11 for cash flow relief, thereby artificially increasing refunds last year.
- General Fund consumption taxes increased 2.9 percent from last year to $8.2 billion, which was $11.6 million lower than projections. General Fund sales tax collections grew 3.1 percent through February 29, compared to the same period last year.
- General Fund business tax collections totaled just under $4 billion through the first 11 months of SFY 2011-12, which was $285.1 million more than the same period a year earlier.
- All Funds receipts of $118.6 billion were 0.7 percent, or $884.3 million lower than last year, primarily because of federal receipts, which were $4.8 billion or 10.8 percent lower from the same period last year, and $315.8 million lower than projected through February 29. All Funds receipts were $16.7 million higher than the latest updated Financial Plan projections.
- All Funds tax collections of $58.4 billion increased by 6.4 percent, or $3.5 billion, from last year, primarily from PIT collections (up $2.9 billion). Consumption taxes grew $348.2 million, or 2.7 percent. Business taxes grew $380 million and other taxes declined $74.3 million. All Funds Tax collections were $172.1 million higher than projections.
- General Fund spending (including transfers to other funds) of $44.4 billion increased 3.6 percent, or $1.6 billion, from the same period last year. General Fund spending was $491 million below projections, primarily due to lower local assistance payments ($697.3 million), offset by increased general state charges ($221.8 million).
- General Fund local assistance increased $1.3 billion, or 4.7 percent compared to last year for the same period, primarily reflecting higher spending for Medicaid due to the June 30 end of federal stimulus funding. Education spending declined $1.6 billion, because of a non-recurring increase of spending in the first quarter of SFY 2010-11. General state charges from the General Fund grew $360 million from last year, and Departmental operations declined $167.6 million compared to last year.
- All Governmental Funds spending declined 0.1 percent, or $142 million, compared to last year, primarily due to lower spending for school aid (down $2.9 billion or 10.9 percent), offset by Medicaid (up $503.8 million or 1.4 percent), health and environment (up $477.9 million or 12.5 percent) and general state charges (up $520.6 million or 11.2 percent). Debt service increased $231.8 million (5.7 percent). Departmental operations spending increased 1.1 percent, or $182.4 million, compared to the same period last year. All Funds spending was $343.2 million lower than updated projections.
The state's finances are generally broken down by two main categories: General Fund and All Funds. The General Fund is the major operating fund of the state and accounts for all receipts that are not required by law to be deposited into another fund. All Governmental Funds includes General, Special Revenue, Debt Service and Capital Projects funds, as well as funds from the federal government.
The complete February cash report can be found at: http://osc.state.ny.us/finance/finreports/cash/monthly/february12.pdf