The state collected $153.3 billion in State Fiscal Year (SFY) 2015-16, an increase of 2.8 percent from a year earlier, and ended the SFY $1.9 billion higher than initial projections, largely because of legal settlements and personal income tax (PIT) collections, according to a report released today by State Comptroller Thomas P. DiNapoli.
Total spending rose 4.7 percent from SFY 2014-15, significantly less than anticipated in initial and final projections. The General Fund ended the year with a balance of $8.9 billion, equal to approximately 5.8 percent of All Funds receipts, the highest proportion since 2000.
“New York state ended the fiscal year with cash in the bank largely thanks to billions of dollars in settlements received over the past two years,” DiNapoli said. “As personal income tax collections in April of 2015 drove higher collections for the year, my office will be looking closely at this April’s results to see how the new fiscal year starts off.”
The state received more than $8.5 billion in monetary settlements from April 2014 through March 2016, including more than $3.6 billion in SFY 2015-16. While the Financial Plan had anticipated $4.55 billion being transferred from the General Fund to the newly created Dedicated Infrastructure and Investment Fund, only $857 million was actually moved, which significantly contributed to the unusually high General Fund balance.
State tax collections rose 5.1 percent from SFY 2014-15 to $74.7 billion, bolstered by a jump in PIT receipts as well as strong growth in real estate transfer and estate tax collections. While these collections were $111.1 million higher than initial Division of the Budget projections, they were $409.9 million below the most recent projections from February 2016 as business tax collections fell short of expectations.
PIT collections rose $3.3 billion, or 7.7 percent, from the previous year, to more than $47 billion. This was due primarily from an increase in PIT collections in April 2015 of $1.4 billion, or 25.5 percent above April 2014, as a result of strong financial market activity and non-wage income that occurred in 2014.
Business tax collections of $7.9 billion were 7.3 percent lower than the previous year. Business receipts were $253.2 million lower than initial projections and $522.2 million below the latest projections released in February.
State spending totaled $150.7 billion, up $6.8 billion percent from the previous year. The increase reflected a 17.8 percent increase in capital spending and additional federal funds for health care spending associated with the Affordable Care Act. Spending was $1.4 billion lower than initial and final projections, with grants to local governments and capital spending lower than projected, partly offset by higher than anticipated debt service payments.
DiNapoli’s report also finds:
- Sales and use taxes increased by 2.8 percent, or $367.7 million, over SFY 2014-15. Sales tax collections were $172.7 million lower than initial projections, but $41.3 million over the latest revised estimates;
- Local assistance spending through the end of the year was $110.3 billion, 5.3 percent, or $5.6 billion, higher than SFY 2014-15. This was $1.5 billion lower than the latest projections, and nearly $1.6 billion lower than initial projections; and
- Overall debt service spending was nearly $5.6 billion, a decline of 9.5 percent, or $584.3 million, from SFY 2014-15. Debt service spending was $476.5 million higher than initially planned and $146.5 million over projections released February 2016. This includes the effect of $953 million in prepayments made in SFY 2014-15 that were previously projected to be made in SFY 2015-16, offset by the $598 million in prepayments made in SFY 2015-16 that were initially planned for SFY 2016-17.
Read the report Year-End Results for State Fiscal Year 2015-16, or go to: http://www.osc.state.ny.us/reports/budget/2016/year_end_fy2015-16.pdf
Since becoming Comptroller, DiNapoli has created several tools to allow the public to better track government spending, contracts and other fiscal issues. These are easily accessible on his transparency website called Open Book New York (www.openbooknewyork.com).