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March 20, 2013

DiNapoli: Tax Collections Declined in February; Budget Must Reflect Realistic Revenue Expectations

Total tax collections trailed the latest projections in the amended Executive Budget Financial Plan released last month, according to the February cash report released today by State Comptroller Thomas P. DiNapoli. Tax collections through February totaled $59.9 billion, 2.6 percent higher than the same period a year ago although collections in the month of February were 5.6 percent lower than collections for the same period last year.

“Despite positive signs in the economy, we are still not seeing the strength in tax collections that would indicate robust growth,” DiNapoli said. “Receipts were up in December and January, primarily because of federal tax changes. February’s decline illustrates that trend will likely not continue. As the new budget is finalized, efforts should focus on enacting a spending plan that recognizes this reality.”

Year-to-date tax growth largely reflects higher than anticipated Personal Income Tax (PIT) collections in both December and January from high-income taxpayers reacting to the federal increase in tax rates starting in 2013. PIT collections in February were $319.7 million below those of a year earlier, and overall collections during the month were $19.3 million below Financial Plan projections updated February 21.

The General Fund closing balance of $7.4 billion at the end of February was $11.2 million lower than the latest projections. This reflects $26.8 million in lower than anticipated receipts and $15.9 million in lower than anticipated spending. The Division of the Budget projects that General Fund spending in 2012-13 will exceed initial Enacted Budget projections by $507 million. This reflects higher than expected spending in March, including the movement of a $183 million debt service payment from April to March.

Other findings from the February Cash Report include:

  • General Fund receipts (including transfers from other funds) of $51.8 billion through February were 3.4 percent, or $1.7 billion, higher than receipts from the same period last year. This was $26.8 million lower than the latest Financial Plan projections.
  • General Fund tax collections totaled $38.5 billion, which was an increase of $1.2 billion, or 3.1 percent, from a year ago, and $7.2 million lower than the latest projections.
  • General Fund PIT collections through February totaled $25.1 billion and grew 3.7 percent, or just under $900 million from last year. Year-to-date collections were $30.9 million lower than the latest projections. As noted, this reflects increased collections associated with the fiscal cliff and federal tax actions.
  • General Fund consumption taxes increased 0.7 percent, or $55.9 million, compared to last year, to $8.2 billion, which is $9.3 million higher than current projections.
  • General Fund sales tax collections grew $79.6 million or 1.1 percent through February, compared to the same period last year. This is in line with the latest projected growth of 1.1 percent for year-end but significantly lower than the initial growth projection of 2.6 percent.
  • General Fund business tax collections totaled $4.2 billion through February, which was $257.3 million more than the same period a year earlier. The figure was $28.3 million higher than the latest projections.
  • All Funds tax collections of $59.9 billion increased by 2.6 percent, or $1.5 billion, from last year, primarily from PIT collections (up $1.3 billion or 3.4 percent) and business tax collections (up $323 million or 5.7 percent). Consumption taxes increased slightly by $37.3 million. Other taxes declined $83.3 million or 2.9 percent. All Funds Tax collections were $18.1 million lower than current projections.
  • General Fund spending (including transfers to other funds) of $46.1 billion increased 3.8 percent, or $1.7 billion, from the same period last year. General Fund spending was $15.9 million below projections. Local assistance increased $929.8 million, or 3.2 percent. General state charges declined $81.8 million from last year, primarily due to the timing of payments. Departmental Operations spending increased $217.5 million or 3.1 percent compared to last year for the same period.
  • All Governmental Funds spending declined 0.3 percent, or $385.5 million, compared to last year, primarily due to $988 million in reduced spending for local assistance and offset by higher spending for Departmental Operations (up 0.7 percent or $125.9 million), debt service and capital. All Funds spending was $392.7 million lower than current projections.

february 2013 cash basis chart

For above table, dollars are in millions.

he 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.


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